Since returning from CityCamp at the end of January, I’ve been immersed in the world of #opengov #gov2.0 and the City’s work on #yegdata. I know this probably doesn’t make sense to many of the people reading this, but I’ll try and do my best to explain. No promises though, I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything.
I suppose a good place to start is CityCamp. Held in Chicago at the end of January, CityCamp was an unconference dedicated to practicing gov 2.0 at the local level. Devin Serink, from IT, and I were fortunate to go as representatives of the City of Edmonton. Devin provided a bit more of a background about open data, gov 2.0 and City Camp in his post “Edmonton Goes To City Camp” prior to our trip. We were both excited for what this unconference had in store. CityCamp was going to be an excellent opportunity to meet and develop relationships with representatives from other municipalities and organizations who were interested in open government and to learn how Edmonton can become a leader in this emerging field.
We spent the weekend with government, community, and media leaders from across North America to discuss new ways governments can use technology to interact with and engage residents. We were pleased (and a little surprised) to discover that Edmonton had just as much to teach as we did to learn. From exploring the uses of new technology, learning how to develop online security, how to leverage the internet to be neighbourly, how to run an apps contest, even how to engage citizens through the use of video games, we quickly realized that the possibilities of creating a more open and transparent government are endless.
Following the weekend at CityCamp we were invited to participate in an Open City Summit. At this workshop we met with other governments who have, or are on their way to having an open data catalogue. Organizations like Sunlight Labs, The Open Planning Project, Code for America, the Urban Institute and Every Block participated in this workshop, because they are interested in having and providing support to open, transparent and democratic governments.
Since we’ve been back there has been a whirl-wind of activity. There’ll be more specifics in posts to come, but to give you an idea of what’s been happening so far, Devin and I have been collaborating with our colleagues, including leadership from IT and Communications and community members to continue the City’s work to educate residents about the benefits of open governance, open data, and open systems.
We are in the process organizing a followup workshop for March 6th to continue the conversation about Edmonton’s initiatives in open data, but also to talk about the larger context of open government from a Canadian and Edmonton perspective. It is our hope that community, government, and academic leaders from across Canada will meet in our city on March 6th to participate and help as we continue to take those next steps towards Edmonton 2.0. Chris Moore, the City’s CIO will be posting to the blog later this week with more on this. Stay tuned.