SimCity Showed Us Brilliant Civic Technology Interfaces 30 Years Ago. Let’s Build Them.

I was eight years old when I first encountered a computer game called “SimCity.” The general premise of the game was that you were the mayor of a virtual city, and you would use game money to create a place for communities of “Sims” to live. First you set up basic infrastructure like roads, pipes, […]

Disaster Preparedness Requires a 211 System. New York City Still Doesn’t Have One.

Over the last few weeks, New Yorkers have watched with great anxiety as Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, among many other places, were pummeled by massive hurricanes. Whenever we see storm destruction, memories of Sandy re-enter our consciousness; as does the question: Is New York City significantly better prepared for the next big one? My […]

How to Run Collaborative Projects That Don’t Fall Prey to Bureaucracy

Today, when people call something “bureaucratic,” they usually mean that in a negative sense, but bureaucracy didn’t always have this negative connotation. About 100 years ago when many professional bureaucracies were being built, they were seen as a means of bringing quality control, predictability, and integrity to administrations. But bureaucracy has taken on a life of its […]

When Platform Co-ops are Seen, What Goes Unseen?

If you’re involved with the “cooperative community” on social media, you’ve probably heard a lot about platform cooperatives in recent years. The vision is simple: what if Uber or AirBnb were owned by its users, who could share decision-making responsibility and profits among themselves? Instead of being exploited by platforms, users could and should be […]

What is “Municipalism”?

The definition of “municipalism” is still up for grabs. If you Google the word you’ll be given a snippet from Wikipedia about “libertarian municipalism”,  a compelling but very specific utopian political philosophy of Murray Bookchin. Surely “municipalism” can and should mean something more. Over the last fifty years, the percentage of people around the globe living in urban areas has increased from 30% to […]

Cryptocurrency Can Shift the Balance of Power Between Cities, States and Nations

One of the most powerful tools of a modern nation is its central bank’s ability to create money “out of thin air.” Nations can use this new money to purchase their own nation’s debt in the form of treasury bills, bonds and notes, allowing it to spend more than it earns in taxes and other income. If a […]

What is “Data Preparedness”?

This post originally appeared on the NYC:Prepared blog. One of the main goals of disaster preparedness work is to simplify and support decision-making processes before, during and after an emergency situation. One way to do this is to make sure high quality, up-to-date information is available in an accessible format to a wide range of […]

Solutions for VOADs

This post is an updated version of the previous post entitled FLO Disaster Relief Software – Recommendations for NVOAD.  It was originally posted on the NYC:Prepared website. Nine months ago, I attended the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters Convening in Elizabeth, NJ. It was a fantastic event in which people from over 50 nonprofit, […]

FLOing the Nonprofit Sector

Information technology is transforming civil society, but into what? There are many people in the nonprofit world who want to see organizations define success metrics and pursue them with the same intensity that corporations pursue profits. This approach is advocated by some of the world’s largest foundations and is being hailed as a major step […]

Designing a Nonprofit Accounting Solution

The Challenge: Accounting When looking for an accounting solution for Sarapis, we checked out the popular free, libre, open source GNUCash. GNUCash is the most popular FLO accounting software program out there and its community is clearly proud of the program’s ability to meet the needs of individuals and small businesses. We need easy nonprofit […]