This morning, Mayor Mike Bloomberg unveiled New York City's long-awaited Big Apps contest. Big Apps seeks to promote the Internet industry in the Big Apple (it's sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation) and make local government more transparent.<p>I've been following the evolution of open data initiatives at the municipal level for about a year now, and was really hoping that New York was going to set the bar for future efforts across the country. It doesn't. In fact it's hard to understand why some notable local tech superstars like investors <a href="http://www.avc.com/">Fred Wilson</a> and <a href="http://www.betaworks.com">John Borthwick</a> would sign on to such a lame effort.</p>
This morning, Mayor Mike Bloomberg unveiled New York City's long-awaited Big Apps contest. Big Apps seeks to promote the Internet industry in the Big Apple (it's sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation) and make local government more transparent.
I've been following the evolution of open data initiatives at the municipal level for about a year now, and was really hoping that New York was going to set the bar for future efforts across the country. It doesn't. In fact it's hard to understand why some notable local tech superstars like investors Fred Wilson and John Borthwick would sign on to such a lame effort.
First of all, the prize structure doesn't make sense. First prize is $5,000 and dinner with Bloomie himself. No commitment to fund, adopt, promote or license the app for citywide use. People that build city apps want to engage the public and the investor community, not the city's political elite. I bet they'd rather have dinner with Andrew Raisej.
Second, despite the fact that the project is primarily aimed at stimulating new business development (it's coming from the econ dev folks) the rules require all entrants to grant the city a one-year license to distribute the app freely. So anyone thinking of building a paid iPhone app, you're shit out of luck.
Finally, and most importantly, the NYC Data Mine that is supposed to be the raw materials for these apps, is more of an NYC Data Dump than anything else. Browsing through the 100+ datasets posted this afternoon to the city's site, you see that about half are just boundary shapefiles easily downloaded or licensed through existing channels. The other half are a dog's breakfast of static datasets (New! Updated monthly!) in every format from Excel to Access to (gag!) SAS. Hello, people, its 2009. API+XML FTW! Just to take one example, I can't wait to see what fascinating mashups stem from the historic release of the Department of Consumer Affairs' list of licensed electronic shops. Because what the world is really lacking is more information about the location of electronics retailers. What this Data Dump looks like is the collected attachments received in reponse to the poor bureaucrat who had to twist every department's arms for one dataset, so the city could say every department contributed.
As someone who's spent time brainstorming with government agencies about open data ecosystems, I'm saddened to see that the city has engineered this program for maximum political impact, minimal risk and mediocre innovation. It's municipal vaporware.
Inclusive Prosperity: No Displacement Necessary
Recent analysis identifies nearly 200 U.S. neighborhoods that have achieved the highly-sought-after goal of increasing the prosperity of residents without displacing the existing community.
Making Healthy Places
The editors of the book "Making Healthy Places," recently published in a second edition by Island Press, discuss the intersections of public health and planning, including key concepts such as green gentrification, health impact assessments, and AI.
Chicago ADUs Concentrated in More Affluent Neighborhoods
An analysis of city-issued permits shows that homeowners in gentrified wards are building accessory dwelling units at much higher rates than those in less well-off communities.
Promoting Diversity in Transit Leadership
Latinos in Transit works to connect and empower people of color to increase diversity in management roles at transit agencies.
A NIMBY Simulator Pokes Fun at All-Too-Real Issues
A classic game gets a sardonic update for the modern world.
Tempe’s Car-Free Developers Headed to Atlanta
Culdesac, developer of a massive no-parking multi-family development in Arizona, is headed to Georgia.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Smart City Expo World Congress
Daniel R. Mandelker
City of Charleston
City of Crystal River
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.