LocalLabs – Connecting Geeks Building Tools for Local Government Transparency

    by Steven Clift
    December 29, 2009

    Who the heck are the people building these local “apps” for the NYC Big Apps competition Amanda Hickman alerted us to in her recent post?

    I don’t know, but they are invited to join LocalLabs to connect with other developers working to build the plumbing for far more transparent and participatory local government and communities.

    Over the last year, in part based on the 2008 e-election, the national work of the Sunlight Foundation and now the Obama Administration stirring the pot with the Open Government Directive, I’ve noticed a huge upswing in interest among software developers in open government.


    My two big concerns:

    1. Local governments and their communities are being left behind and are no longer closest to the people as the Internet becomes the primary face of government.

    2. Most newly inspired coders register a domain name and write some code to launch a new “e-democracy” project over the weekend. The next week they move on to something new. Only a small percentage of efforts are breaking out because most languish in obscurity and this locally interested developer talent doesn’t have a place to land.


    The solution:

    1. A mega-buck project?

    2. Or, how about a simple online group/e-mail list for developers interested in local transparency and participation? Let’s call it LocalLabs and see who shows up.


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