lunedì 30 aprile 2012

I had a dream...

... A dream where the governance had a real time dashboard about the city not far from the SimCity interface. A dream where the decisions about the structure of the city were taken based on this data. And where the information displayed was basically public and not politically filtered. Then i understood. It was basically an instrument for the very fashionable Smart City. The problem is that this instrument does not exit. It's not a strange IBM Tivoli adaptation (you don't want to manage your city through gauges and sliders), and it's not a funny tool custom-designed for a specific city. It should be a set of tools maybe completely independent from each other and only referencing the same backend. What kind of tools should these be? Well, The many open source projects around the world show an enormous interest in those small tools. Would there be a possibility to merge these projects into a larger view on how cities can be managed and transparency in that management can be gained? Let's see the various projects:

  • From Italy comes the political part through OpenMunicipio, a tool developed by the developers of OpenParlamento, enabling the tracking of every political decision and every absence and presence of a politician during the various sessions of the council.
  • From Canada comes the django-version of FixMyStreet, a british open source tool, clone of SeeClickFix. The idea is good, but it depends highly on google's geocoding system, while using 
  • From USA comes OpenTreeMap, to track both the positions of trees in the city and their problems regarding risks for the people below them
  • From Brasil comes the webtool enabling Urban Acupuncture, to deliver pressure points to the city and making a better city through those points and activities coming from the people
  • From Ukraina comes a non-web tool enabling the programming of the bus schedules, while...
  • From France comes a non-web tool to evaluate the various tracks of the bus map
  • From the OKFN come all the webapps enabling data management for the opendata-oriented city, and for example the OpenSpending app to display the usage of money.
And in all of this Open Data is both the sideproduct of the new age of public information management, and the source of the whole power of such a tool...
What do you think? Could a non-for-profit create such a tool and start delivering it to governance? Could we nerds finally save the world?

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