Making Public Spending Public

In an effort to improve accountability, more government agencies are freeing data about public expenditures.

Next American City columnist Christian Madera writes that the federal government and a variety of cities are opening this data up to the public. The trend is also spreading outside of the U.S.

"One often cited example is the City of Toronto, Canada, which publishes the detailed expense records of the City's mayor and council members. In the U.S., Washington, D.C. publishes the details of government purchase orders and credit card transactions as part of its open data catalog. And Cook County, Illinois recently launched a online check register that lists contract payments made by the County.

Other cities are trying to catch up. In New York City, the city's new Public Advocate (an elected post designed to serve as the city's watchdog) announced plans for new website that would provide citizens with information about applications for councilmember discretionary funds – which could potentially be used to reward political supporters. Underwhelmingly, reporting of these applications will be on a voluntary basis by each elected official."

Full Story: Following the Money


Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."