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Open data and open government are often confused with each other. The phrase “open government” was first introduced in the 1950s, a call for public accountability after little government information disclosure during WWII. However, in recent years, the two ideas have been conflated. Former President Obama’s Open Government Directive called for... Read More

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Although Uruguay usually warrants little attention, it has demonstrated time and again the ability to surprise and innovate. In keeping with its hard-earned identity, Uruguay has led its regional counterparts in the adoption and promotion of open government. Its adoption of open government has allowed Uruguay to lead the region in creating... Read More

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Sensors are increasingly-valuable tools for better understanding, managing, and planning urban environments. In Chicago, for example, the city’s recently launched Array of Things urban sensor initiative has enabled simultaneous collection of data on a wide range of environmental factors such as air quality, weather conditions, noise, and... Read More

While gridlock has taken hold in a paralyzed Washington, DC, mayors across the country are taking a pragmatic approach to solving local problems and its time for tech to reach out to them. “For years now, Washington, DC, has been paralyzed by partisan gridlock. . . Rather than complaining, cities have started innovating, and we’ve seen this... Read More

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Indonesia is a nation made up of thousands of volcanic islands that lies at the convergence of three major tectonic plates and is estimated to possess 40 percent of the world’s geothermal energy reserves, roughly 27,000 megawatts. This is the largest in the world, but up until 2011, Indonesia was only using 4 to 5 percent of its geothermal... Read More

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In a crowded room at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center last October, Bob Gradeck looked out from his podium and asked: “does anyone [here] really know what open data is?” The University of Pittsburgh-based project manager saw only a few hands raised. Most, hesitantly. “There’ll be a quiz later,” he deadpanned, before launching... Read More

As an Ash Center Summer Fellow in the Office of the Mayor in the City and County of Denver, on my morning walks to work I could observe construction cranes hanging overhead while homeless men and women slept on the streets below. During my fellowship, one of my primary responsibilities was to design a strategy framework detailing actions the... Read More

Since New Orleans began its recovery after Hurricane Katrina, the city has been tackling its problem with blighted properties in a variety of ways. Reducing blight has been one of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s top priorities since he took office in 2010. The city’s successful BlightSTAT performance management approach has been the backbone of efforts... Read More

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Good government requires good records. A school, police force, utility, tax collection, army, or agency — none operates without ledgers, spreadsheets of rows and columns. Securing “life and liberty” could be brand language for keeping and enforcing records. Efficient markets require good records, too. A single lightbulb engages hundreds of... Read More

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Tunisian millennials triggered the Arab Spring. Armed with the mobilizing potential of social media, they successfully forced out the dictatorial regime of Zin El Abidin Ben Ali. Subsequently, Tunisia underwent significant economic, political, and security crises. But thanks to constructive compromise and a vigilant civil society, it valiantly... Read More

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In 2007, Costa Rica President Oscar Arias declared “peace with nature” and laid out a visionary goal to expand and secure Costa Rica’s national parks, wildlife preserves, and protected seascapes. Many thought the ambitious plan had little chance of success. After three years, the Costa Rican government, conservation NGOs, foundations, and... Read More

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General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) might be the single most important technological innovation this century for public transit — at least I think so. GTFS features a common format for public transportation schedules and related geographic information, which enables developers to innovate using the available data. Public transit agencies... Read More

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