Advancing open government/Gov 2.0 in San Francisco

[youtube] The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has partnered with the San Francisco Department of Technology to launch Summer of Smart, a three-month intensive program that brings together designers, planners, architects, technologists, developers and other urbanists to create bold new ideas to address pressing issues in San Francisco.  At the conclusion of the program, leading ideas will be presented to Mayoral candidates to inspire lasting change in the city.

The program includes three weekends of workshops covering Community Development and Public Art; Sustainability, Transportation, and Energy; and, Public Health, Food, and Nutrition.  Each weekend, attendees are asked to focus on the following question: What projects and applications should be built around urban issues facing San Francisco, and then presented to mayoral candidates for their feedback and support?

This is perhaps too big a question to start with.  It seems that necessarily the process must start by identifying the existing issues and examining the feasibility of tech or open government-type solutions.  That’s why it is so important that attendees include both those working within the government and those from the tech world.

Some solutions mentioned in their Twitter feed (#sfsos) and on the website so far include:

  • Publicly-visible eBay for government contracts
  • A management system for transit agencies to view real-time delay information, change operations
  • The Neighborhood Game, designed to inspire people to meet their neighbors and learn more about their neighborhood
  • Permit This, aggregating building permit info with building codes

A major success of the program could be simply to bring open government and technology into the mayoral debate.  This video highlights the tech (il)literacy of each of the candidates.

- Terra Curtis