The City Clerk hit an important milestone this week in developing an Open Government Action Plan. Read the City’s media release on Open Government.
We are being told by experts in this field that we are the first Canadian municipality to develop such an integrated and comprehensive Open Government Action Plan. We read a lot about open data. This is about open data and much more.
Open Government is defined as – creating a fully transparent and accountable City which leverages technology and empowers the community to generate added value as well as participate in the development of innovative and meaningful solutions.
Will the community be engaged in its development? Absolutely! That is what this is all about.
Imagine if you are walking by a proposed new development site and you could use your smart phone to immediately learn all about it, what your neighbours think and how to get involved. Or imagine if you could type your address into your smart phone and immediately get access to all the services and facilities within your neighbourhood.
There are many living examples:
- Platforms like Open 311 and apps Fixmystreet.com allow residents to submit problems such as blocked pathways, potholes etc. to municipalities from their phones which then get automatically prioritized for repair.
- Apps like Rocket Radar give people real-time, GPS-based status with respect to transit options in their immediate area.
- Development challenges and events (Hackathons, Changecamps etc.) bring together community partners such as residents, academics, non-profits, businesses, investors in an effort to crowdsource solutions. Many focus on software development leveraging municipal open data, however, some like Toronto’s Transit Camp simply provide a forum for the community to problem solve around improving a municipally delivered service.
- Apps like ReCollect allow residents to schedule reminders with respect to services such as garbage/recycling pick up and receive personalized alerts relating to construction, street cleaning in their neighbourhood.
- Government run programs like track DC allow residents to drill down and learn more about how their government services are delivered and their respective budget/cost and overall performance based on a defined set of benchmarks.
We have experienced incredible success in collaborative initiatives – like the Community Wellbeing Initiative, Local Immigration Partnership, Community Engagement Framework, Community Energy Initiative, and Economic Summit. We can leverage this knowledge and success to propel us to a new level of openness and engagement.