Neither a barrage of facts nor a sense of civic duty alone will make people reexamine their positions. As we've learned at The Village Square, civil discourse requires friendship, humor – and irreverence.
It's important to consider this as governments work to update their records management practices for the digital era. The transition to a digital era of creating, storing and sharing public records means it is becoming easier to preserve more information and make it more accessible. It is an opportunity for a fuller body of evidence to drive the historical narrative. Digital records will be a key part of this, but history shows that it may make sense to store records in other formats, too.
Why? Preserving records in digital format can present the same kinds of challenges as preserving physical records: records in any one format need the proper care to continue to be accessible.
It’s almost impossible to attend a conference on Smart Cities or Urban Innovation without finding a group of people shilling the radical transformation that’s possible with Agile or Lean methodologies, as popularized by the Lean Start-Up refrain of Eric Reis. But these approaches produce specific types of outputs and are nowhere close to the panacea our cities increasingly demand. A simple primer on these methodologies will highlight short, tight cycles of effort, called sprints, with multi-disciplinary teams dedicated to cracking well-articulated tasks (with Lean aimed at developing a business model and Agile connoting a process that can be applied to executing almost anything that lacks clear definition).
So, what does any of this have to do with the urban challenges we’re facing like air pollution, waste and recycling, or uneven access to resources?
This time around, I will provide an unscientific, non-medical diagnosis on the current state of local government. I developed the diagnosis by asking attendees at a recent ELGL & ICMA event to “describe the current state of local government.” (I know, pretty fancy question with a lot of big words.) Opinions varied from it’s a “fun, exciting, yet somewhat stressed time on the local level” to “local government is doing the best they can with limited resources” to “remind me again, what’s the difference between a planner and mayor.” (Note: I made up that last quote.)
We’re excited to announce that RNI has begun work in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The city’s commitment to the concept of resilience is long-standing: it was an early adopter of environmental practices such as green building and taxes on carbon emissions. Strong investment in farsighted flood control efforts helped the city survive the devastating floods of September of 2013. Still, the city has faced many challenges: it experienced the state of Colorado’s most financially destructive wildfire in history in 2012 and the effects of the economic downturn are still being felt. As Boulder looks into an era of climate change, it wants to better prepare for the unexpected and improve the ability to respond to whatever comes its way.