Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Areas of Gov2.0 and What I am fascinated about

To help you understand the basic motivation of Gov2.0 and "Government as a platform", I recommend you to watch the embedded video below via Tim O'Reilly:

I see there are three major fields in the area of Gov2.0. These areas are inter-related each other and have many shared values. But I believe they have different motivations and thus different approaches.

I wrote about how the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) opened up their transit data to software developers. Within 2 months, six new trip planning applications for bus and train riders had been built at no cost to the MBTA. That’s the power of open data. It was data produced by the government which was released to the public in an open format (GTFS) for free, under a license that allowed for use and redistribution. 
Why does this matter? If open data is misunderstood as releasing any and all data to the public, people will become opposed to the concept due to their concerns about privacy. What we, as policy advocates, want to encourage is that the data that governments do and should publish is done so in a way to ensure equal public access by all citizens. In other words, you shouldn’t have to buy a particular vendor’s product in order to be able to open, use, or repurpose the data. You, as a taxpayer, have already paid for the collection of the data. You shouldn’t have to pay an additional fee to open it.
What “open data” means – and what it doesn’t |

Open Transit Data: NYC MTA’s Transformation | OpenPlans

A Case for Open Data in Transit from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Basically, government opens up their data, in a publicly accessible manner, and enables citizens to "open, use, or repurpose the data." Like the above example with transit data in NYC, this will benefit citizens by getting more services provided by private sectors and encourage innovations. 
Related Projects:
Open Government Data
Data | The World Bank

OpenGov is about making government more transparent and accountable, opening to the public about what they are doing and how they are using taxes etc.
David can explain far better:

Open Government Initiative | The White House
The State of Open Government | OpenPlans
OpenGovernment - revealing state and local government data

Civic Engagements/ Participatory democracy: 
This is a topic that I am mostly fascinated about. It is about getting people together, making government and community better and smarter. There are projects like Civic Commons and Code For America to tackle government's IT challenges with civic engineers and promote OpenSource technologies in public sectors. Another great service of promoting civic engagements with government is " is a place where the public and government can solve problems together." These projects encourage citizens to participate and engage with public sectors to solve "our" problems: "Do It Ourselves". Web services like and CityCamp encourage community engagements and active citizenship. Using crowdsourcing technology, CitySourced and SeeClickFix are primary examples of civic participations and collective actions to solve local problems instead of relying on and waiting for local government to solve issues.

I strongly believe that civic engagements and collective actions will play fundamental role in our society; facing financial deficits in many of public sectors, the demands of these services will continue to raise and will see many more to come in global scale. I am very interested in creating a platform between government and citizens to collectively act together, share ideas, increase awareness, and enrich our community. This will also help younger generations be aware of local politics, encouraging them to participate in the society.

Pleas feel free to leave a comment here and give me feedback.

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