Trying to find focused time to talk to citizens in Charlotte is something that’s constantly on our minds, but felt we haven’t been doing enough of it yet. (We’re defining ‘citizens’ as local people who are affiliated with neither government nor the tech scene.)
One way to combat that, we’ve found, is to take advantage of the time we spend getting around. Since we don’t have a car here, we’ve been taking the bus or a combination of Lyft / Uber X / cabs. What we discovered was that the Lyft / Uber X / cab drivers are pretty perfect for conducting casual, ad hoc interviews about the city.
In the field of urban innovation, perhaps no topic is as hot right now as that of the "smart city." But a new study finds that when broken down into its component parts, the approach is far more unevenly distributed than its catch-all label might imply — and that a better understanding of the concept, married with knowing the characteristics of a local place, can help predict which cities will get smart how.
In the roughly 15 or so years since the Internet became a viable channel through which to provide government service, it was governments themselves that built most of the citizen-facing applications. With the release of open government data and support for programmable interfaces like Open311, we are witnessing an increasing amount of this work being done by independent parties outside of government (and outside of traditional government contract vehicles).