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New York release road map to becoming a digital city

Yesterday, New York City released its “Road Map for the Digital City: Achieving New York City’s Digital Future.” For those who missed the announcement, especially those concerned about the digital economy, the future of government and citizen services, the document is definitely worth downloading and scanning.

At the heart of the document sits a road map which I’ve ripped from the executive summary and pasted below.What makes me particularly interested in it is how the Open Government section is not uniquely driven by the desire for transparency but with the goal of spurring innovation and increasing access to services. Of course, the devil is in the details but I’m increasingly convinced that open initiatives will be more successful when the government of the day has some specific policy objectives (beyond just transparency) it wishes to drive home, with open data as part of the mix (more on this in a post coming soon).

As such, “government as platform” works best when the government also builds atop the platform. It itself must be a consumer and stakeholder. This is why section 3 is so important and interesting. Essentially section 2 and 3 have parts that are strikingly similar, its just that section 2 outlines the platform and lays out that the government hopes others will build on top of it whereas parts of section 3 outline what the government intends to build atop of it. Of course section 3 goes further and talks as well about gathering information and data from the public which is the big thing in the Gov 2.0 space that many governments have not gotten around to doing effectively – so this will be worth watching more closely. All of this is great news and exactly what governments should be thinking about.

It is great when a big city comes out with a document like this because while New York is not the first to be thinking these ideas, but its profile means that others will start devoting resources to pursue these ideas more aggressively.

Exciting times.

1. Access

The City of New York ensures that all New Yorkers can access the Internet and take advan- tage of public training sessions to use it effectively. It will support more vendor choices to New Yorkers, and introduce Wi-Fi in more public areas.

  1. Connect high needs individuals through federally funded nyc Connected initiatives
  2. Launch outreach and education efforts to increase broadband Internet adoption
  3. Support more broadband choices citywide
  4. Introduce Wi-Fi in more public spaces, including parks

2. Open Government

By unlocking important public information and supporting policies of Open Government, New York City will further expand access to services, enable innovation that improves the lives of New Yorkers, and increase transparency and efficiency.

  1. Develop nyc Platform, an Open Government framework featuring APIs for City data
  2. Launch a central hub for engaging and cultivating feedback from the developer community
  3. Introduce visualization tools that make data more accessible to the public
  4. Launch App Wishlists to support a needs-based ecosystem of innovation
  5. Launch an official New York City Apps hub

3. Engagement

The City will improve digital tools including nyc.gov and 311 online to streamline service and enable citizen-centric, collaborative government. It will expand social media engagement, implement new internal coordination measures, and continue to solicit community input in the following ways:

  1. Relaunch nyc.gov to make the City’s website more usable, accessible, and intuitive
  2. Expand 311 Online through smartphone apps, Twitter and live chat
  3. Implement a custom bit.ly url redirection service on nyc.gov to encourage sharing and transparency
  4. Launch official Facebook presence to engage New Yorkers and customize experience
  5. Launch @nycgov, a central Twitter account and one-stop shop of crucial news and services
  6. Launch a New York City Tumblr vertical, featuring content and commentary on City stories
  7. Launch a Foursquare badge that encourages use of New York City’s free public places
  8. Integrate crowdsourcing tools for emergency situations
  9. Introduce digital Citizen Toolkits for engaging with New York City government online
  10. Introduce smart, a team of the City’s social media leaders
  11. Host New York City’s first hackathon: Reinventing nyc.gov
  12. Launch an ongoing listening sessions across the five boroughs to encourage input

4. Industry

New York City government, led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, will continue to support a vibrant digital media sector through a wide array of programs, including workforce development, the establishment of a new engineering institution, and a more stream- lined path to do business.

  1. Expand workforce development programs to support growth and diversity in the digital sector
  2. Support technology startup infrastructure needs
  3. Continue to recruit more engineering talent and teams to New York City
  4. Promote and celebrate nyc’s digital sector through events and awards
  5. Pursue a new .nyc top-level domain, led by DOITT

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Christina Morrison

Thanks for the post David – this is great stuff, and will hopefully because of New York’s high profile they will be a model for other cities looking to build similar plans!