Engaging Citizens: Why?

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Create tangible datasets with real-time information

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Engage citizens with complete transparency

We have intentionally made this data accessible and understandable to demonstrate the power of data collection in decision-making. Our hope is to see citizens interact with this data on a regular basis, and for some to take initiative and create their own applications, like Shawn Peterson for example. With a sprouting movement of civic technology in New Brunswick, we want this Pattern of Life project to accelerate that growth, creating citizen-led projects that transform into business models.

Civic Technology can be defined as “to enable engagement or participation of the public for stronger development, enhancing citizen communications, improving government infrastructure, and generally improving the public good.” By opening these data sets up, we’re providing the means for the creation of “civic applications, platforms supporting government bodies, institutions and other software enabling those goals.” (Defined here.)

 Civic Technology

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Actionable Change: Get Involved

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Weather.

Analyze how rain or snow can impact the traffic flow and frequent areas in your uptown.

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Concerts & Festivals.

See how different festivals, concerts and gatherings impact the pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the uptown core.

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New Business.

See the result of a new restaurant or store opening on the traffic flow within your uptown.

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Understand Peak Times.

Make your uptown experience more enjoyable by knowing the busiest and slowest times.

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Commute Times.

By understanding the vehicular movement in your uptown, you’ll be able to plan the best route for your visit.

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Popular Areas.

Find out where the highest concentration of people are within your uptown.

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Tourism.

By viewing the frequent times of the day and year, you’ll be able to easily plan your ideal trip to Saint John.

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Trending Patterns.

With continuous data collection, we’ll be able to share traffic trends on a month-by-month analysis.

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Construction.

View the alternative routes available when different sidewalks/roads are closed within the uptown.

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Purchasing Property.

Use real-time data to see the busiest and quietest spots within the uptown and factor that into your decision.

NB’ers who are engaging with data

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 Shawn Peterson

Aside from his day job at T4G as a Solutions Developer for Custom Applications, Shawn is passionate about making transformational change by accessing and analyzing open data sets. Propertize is a website that Shawn created in 2009 which allows residents of New Brunswick to simply view their property tax assessment information and compare it to nearby properties. What started in 2009 has become an incredibly valuable tool for many New Brunswickers, in fact, it recently helped identify a problem that resulted in a family saving $8,500.

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 Monica Wachowicz

Dr. Monica Wachowicz is Associate Professor and the NSERC/Cisco Industrial Research Chair in Real-Time Mobility Analytics at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She is also the Director of the People in Motion Laboratory, a centre of expertise in the application of Internet of Things (IoT) to smart cities. Her research work is directly related to the vision of a constellation of inter-connected devices in the future that will contain information about the context and location of things across several geographical and temporal scales.

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Additional Content  

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Why good hackers make good citizens

Catherine Bracy

Hacking is about more than mischief-making or political subversion. As Catherine Bracy describes in this spirited talk, it can be just as much a force for good as it is for evil. She spins through some inspiring civically-minded projects in Honolulu, Oakland and Mexico City — and makes a compelling case that we all have what it takes to get involved.

#CivicTech Primer: What is “civic tech”?

Lawrence Grodeska

Here in the Second Great Internet Bubble, we’ve come to accept Marc Andreessen’s maxim that “software is eating the world.” The evidence is outstanding for sectors like retail, social, finance and entertainment. And as you read this, software is quickly devouring many more sectors and systems, from transportation to health to energy.

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Civic Tech Brings Power and Positivity to the People

Stacy Donohue

People have long had a complicated relationship with their governments — a tension that often is exacerbated by government policies and processes that cannot keep pace with today’s on-demand culture.

Silicon Valley ‘civic-tech’ companies driving transparency in local government

Heather Somerville

Cities from San Francisco to Palo Alto and Dublin — even down to the financially troubled city of Bell in Southern California — are using Silicon Valley startup technology to open a window into government spending at an unprecedented level of detail.

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Why Civic Tech Is The Next Big Thing

Mike Montgomery

As recently as ten years ago, government was seen as the black plague of the tech world. Bureaucracies move slowly. Governments have limited resources. Convincing municipalities to spend money on anything can be a Herculean task. Venture capitalists recommended entrepreneurs stick to the private sector where budgets are looser and there’s a more diverse customer base.

Civic Tech Is Ready For Investment

Stacy Donohue

Civic tech is not a new concept. People have been using technology to empower citizens and improve government operations for more than 10 years. However, there are a growing number of entrepreneurs, innovators, and private- and public-sector leaders breathing new life into an industry ripe for disruption.

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What Is Civic Tech?

Christopher Whitaker

Civic technology is a new phrase that’s gained recent popularity in the growing — but still nascent — sector of people who work in technology and focus their efforts towards solving challenges facing the public sector.

Within the realm of civic technology, the Knight Foundation has defined 2 core themes, Open Government and Community Action. Below are examples of different Civic Technology companies.

Open Government Community Action

Data access and transparency

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“Socrata is a privately-held cloud software company headquartered in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square with offices in Washington, D.C. and London. Our core team consists of software engineers, designers, open government advocates, and business professionals who are working hard to unleash the power of data to transform the world.”

https://socrata.com/company-info/

Peer-to-peer local sharing

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“Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.

Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.”
https://www.airbnb.ca/about/about-us

Voting

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“Since 2014, the award winning Democracy.com platform has helped over a million citizens take action for the issues and candidates they care about.”

https://www.democracy.com/

Civic crowd-funding

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“Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

https://www.kiva.org/about

Visualization and mapping

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“Today, OpenGov is setting a new standard across the country for how governments analyze, share, and compare financial data.  With OpenGov’s cloud-based platform, state and local governments of all sizes collaborate more effectively, make smarter data-driven decisions, and achieve greater transparency.”

http://opengov.com/about/

Neighborhood forums

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“Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

Nextdoor’s mission is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods.”
https://nextdoor.com/about_us/

Data utility

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We help government deliver services to the public better using the tools and practices of the digital age. And we organize a network of people dedicated to spreading these practices in government for the benefit of all Americans.

Since 2011, we’ve worked with thousands of tech industry professionals to help 100+ local governments serve their communities better.  Now we’re working with government to make the most of our tax dollars to help millions of underserved Americans.”

https://www.codeforamerica.org/what

Information crowdsourcing

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“Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.”
https://www.waze.com/

Resident feedback

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“For more than 15 years, Accela has been the industry leader in designing and delivering productivity and engagement software to help government agencies be their best. Today, citizens are savvy to how services should be delivered, and expect a consistently convenient, openly transparent view into their local government. While government agencies struggle to do more with less, our mission has never been more critical.

 

Accela provides a robust, cloud-based platform of solutions that increase engagement, improve efficiency and deliver transparency to strengthen communities, called the Accela Civic Platform. Our solutions serve more than 2,200 communities worldwide, including over half of America’s largest cities.”
https://www.accela.com/company/about-us

Community organizing

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“On Change.org, people everywhere are starting campaigns, mobilizing supporters, and working with decision makers to drive solutions.”

 

https://www.change.org/about

Public decision making

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Founded in 1991, Living Cities harnesses the collective power of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to build a new type of urban practice that gets dramatically better results for low-income people, faster.

Together, we are working with cross-sector leaders in cities to develop and scale new approaches geared at achieving dramatically better results for low-income people. Our investments, research, networks and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, comprehensive, local approaches with real-time sharing of knowledge to accelerate and deepen adoption in more places.”
https://www.livingcities.org/about