October 2003
Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
For the past decade, Naga City has harnessed information technology to improve, enhance, and redefine traditional notions of governance. The city's i-Governance initiatives seek to engage individual citizens in civic affairs and increase their access to the local decision-making process. The program is motivated by the conviction that encouraging participation in governance leads to a more accountable and responsive government and fuels innovative approaches in city management. Innovative services like TextServe allow citizens to send requests and complaints to city officials using cellular phone-based text messaging. A richly featured city website offers residents the ability to access critical information on local services. This paper is an outgrowth of the Ash Institute's Innovations in Technology and Governance (ITG) Project, which seeks to identify the conditions under which innovations in technology and governance can be most effectively and appropriately harnessed to drive improvements in the ways societies govern themselves. A central research question for the ITG Project is how networks that enable wider and more horizontal communication flows, and at more scales, challenge or alter traditional governance. The ITG Project also aims to better understand the causal relationships between polity, technology, and economy. The ITG Workshop took place on October 30 - 31, 2003, at Harvard University.
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