With increasing amounts of data collected and held by governments, there's a lot of opportunity to make use of it for the betterment of communities, according to this column from Neal Peirce.
"Proponents claim Web 2.0 represents an historical opportunity to break down government's walls of secrecy, of data held behind the walls of siloed departments. Inside government, 2.0 lets workers compare notes and think fresh about problem-solving across organizational lines - especially liberating for younger employees who might otherwise be reluctant to buck hierarchies to expose their ideas."
"But open the same sluice gates of data to the public, argue former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and others, and citizens can look inside the maze, assemble data their own way, and often help solve problems they consider the most acute."
"There's a fascinating twist to the Web 2.0 story - Its lead city is America's often-maligned national capital. 2.0 expert Stephenson argues convincingly that "Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, and his Chief Technology Officer, Vivek Kundra, are this country's hands-down leaders on use of data feeds and data visualization." The District of Columbia is providing, in fact, 215 real-time data feeds on every area from zoning permits to health care to potholes, available to government workers, indeed any web user through its Citywide Data Warehouse (http://data.octo.dc.gov)."