Las Vegas is famously the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” but the City of Las Vegas (CLV) recognizes that citizens and visitors demand more from a government than just good entertainment. Las Vegas’ recent suffering (the City nears the top of the list of cities most devastated by the economic crisis of recent) provides both the opportunity and challenge of redefining itself a city of more than gaming and tourism. CLV is at the heart of that effort.
CLV recognizes that it must extend its reach to make itself accessible 24/7 to every single constituent and visitor, and allow each person to engage CLV in their own ways. To do this, the way CLV currently interacts with the community must be re-imagined. The City must create a way to place relevant and useful information in the hands of the people, wherever they are at any time of the day.
CLV embraces the technology revolution that is empowering people and connecting the world. The ubiquity of smartphones and wireless connectivity, along with literally millions of apps raining from the “cloud” has given people the power to accomplish countless tasks wherever they happen to be. This has sped up everything and CLV has struggled to mirror that speed in its own development and delivery cycles. In addition, everything has become more open and accessible, and again, CLV has been behind the curve in keeping up with the times.
The City seeks to collaborate with the outside world at that same pace at which it moves, works, and connects—exactly what Code for America represents. CLV wishes to imagine and create tools to offer both its citizens and visitors — tools which allow better access the city’s information and services. CLV wants to eliminate the perception that government is bureaucratic and slow to respond, replacing it with perception of a city that encourages citizens to be activists for their community.
If use correctly, the power of social media will allow CLV to knock down walls and promote openness to citizens and visitors alike. The great thing about this technology revolution is that it makes it easier than ever to turn an idea into a solution that addresses the publics’ needs. The public will have a more prominent voice in city government by having greater opportunities to engage with government leaders and staff via social media platforms. In addition, CLV will be joining forces with prominent local businesses, such as the online retailer, Zappos, to leverage technology to service and revitalize the city’s downtown core.
CLV is seeking to partner with Code for America to collectively examine the existing (thousands of) points of engagement, and figure out how they can be enhanced to improve the way the city interact with the public. Code For America’s fellows will provide fresh ideas and new perspectives, along with technical skills to help CLV better manage its presence using technology, and harness the energy of social media.