LogoIt's time to lift the curtain: Together with my friends Micheal Hinke and Stefan Höffken I created http://EngagingCities.com, where I'll be blogging in the future. 

EngagingCities helps urban planners understand and use the internet. We write about new online developments and give practical advice. How can new technologies make your planning processes more participatory, collaborative or effective? Which online tools best suit your needs and how do you use them effectively?

As you can tell, compared to the last year or two, my eParticipation focus will be more on Urban Planning again. We're just getting started, I'd love to hear your feedback and suggestions how to make it better!

Trends for 2010?

It's that time of the year, the holidays are coming closer and I decided to take some time to take a look at what others are predicting for 2010 in eDe­mocracy and eGovernment. 

One article that caught my attention is Dion Hinchcliffe­'s The Government 2.0 Forecast For 2010: 7 Predictions in the Social Computing Journal. His key points include:

  • Social computing will continue to grow in government, but won't hit critical mass in 2010
  • Self-service integration and app creation makes deeper inroads
  • Open data goes back to the drawing board
  • Cloud computing will go big
  • Government 2.0 apps expand the boundaries of transparency and citizen involvement
  • Government portals (rightly) continue to incorporate social media, but deep engagement will be elusive for now
  • Collaborative video, geo-enablement, mobile, and crowdsourcing will get initial lift but remain niches

It's a pretty comprehensive set that thoroughly analyzes many of the exciting things that have been discussed under the Government2.0 umbrella this year, while preserving a realistic viewpoint.

He notes: "innovations point the way towards a future that includes participatory citizenship and the Web as a civic platform as well as open data (both internally and externally to agencies and state/local governments) and social computing. And that's just the beginning."

2010 should be an exciting year!

Administration Launches Comprehensive Open Government Plan

Exciting news:

­­WASHINGTON – Dec 8 at 11:00am ET, U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will launch the administration’s comprehensive Open Government Plan, furthering the President’s commitment to increasing transparency and accountability in Washington and ensuring greater access and information for the American people.

This announcement will be streamed live on http://www.whitehouse.gov, and will be followed by a web forum where individuals will be given an opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions about the administration’s Open Government Plan.

WHO: U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra and U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra
WHAT: Administration Launches Comprehensive Open Government Plan
WHERE: Watch it live and participate at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live
WHEN: Tuesday, December 8
11:00am ET

­ ­

WhiteHouse.gov Goes Open Source; Runs on Drupal

Via techpresident

The great Drupal switch came about after the Obama new media team, with a few months of executive branch service (and tweaking of WhiteHouse.gov) under their belts, decided they needed a more malleable development environment for the White House web presence. They wanted to be able to more quickly, easily, and gracefully build out their vision of interactive government. General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), the Virginia-based government contractor who had executed the Bush-era White House CMS contract, was tasked by the Obama Administration with finding a more flexible alternative. The ideal new platform would be one where dynamic features like question-and-answer forums, live video streaming, and collaborative tools could work more fluidly together with the site's infrastructure. The solution, says the White House, turned out to be Drupal. That's something of a victory for the Drupal (not to mention open-source) community. [...]

Let's really try to extract the last drop of possible meaning from a choice over a CMS. Squint a bit, and it's possible to see the White House's move to open-source software as a move towards the idea that collaborative programming can inspire -- or at least, support -- a more distributed politics. [...] This idea, that a politics crafted by the people could be a powerful thing indeed, emerged in a slightly mutated way during the Obama presidential campaign, but has arguably receded below the surface during the first nine months of the Obama Administration. First the WhiteHouse.gov CMS gets more open, then the White House OS? Perhaps.

10th World eDemocracy Forum

The 10th World e-Democracy Forum will take place on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 October 2009 with a new format and new ambitions. The election of Barack Obama has in fact validated the theories developed in the Forum since the early 2000s on the impact of ICTs on political life and civic participation. Time is coming for more concrete practice. The 10th World e-Democracy Forum want to bring to light those who daily work to build the digital society for citizens.


Promising Practices in Online Engagement

Exciting news, we just released our new report on Promising Practices in Online Engagement: The Internet's revolutionary impact on information-sharing and network-building is having an increasingly powerful impact on public life. So far, the deliberative democratic potential of the medium has been less fully explored than has its application to electoral and interest group politics. This report highlights multiple approaches to how the Internet can help build capacity and momentum for inclusive, collaborative and boundary-crossing problem-solving, both locally and at the national level.

Read the full report >>

Building Social Media Infrastructure to Engage Publics: Twitter Vote Report

pmfr2Great in-depth analysis of Twitter Vote Report, the first election monitoring of its kind:

This field report traces how a committed group of volunteers harnessed the micro-blogging tool Twitter to create innovative public media 2.0 experiments—first to actively engage users to report on their voting experiences in the 2008 U.S. election, and then to document their experiences of the 2009 presidential inauguration. Along the way, these two projects demonstrated how journalists and advocates can effectively leverage a range of both commercial and open source social media tools to organize, publicize and implement citizen reporting projects, creating infrastructure for related future projects. Organizers have since worked to archive and repurpose the code and collaboration materials from these efforts for use in 2009 election monitoring initiatives in India and Iran.

Read the full report >>

We also feature this case study in our upcoming paper "Promising Practices for Online Engagement". 

Event Announcement: PCamp09

­­Unfortunately I won't be able to participate, even though they offer great ways to participate virtually. From their website:

Participation Camp will provide the spark for an explosion of sharing, experimentation, and collaboration around this question.  Participants may attend a wide range of physical and virtual presentations (or deliver one themselves), compete in a conference-wide participation game, or roll up their sleeves in a hands-on workshop.

PCamp will be hosted by ITP@NYU.  There is no cost to attend.  Register now.

Using Second Life for Stakeholder Engagement

Why just talk with stakeholders about environmental management (or any other subject)? Let them experience it! Public Agenda is partnering with Public Decisions to explore and showcase the use of Virtual Worlds for citizen engagement.

Conducted entirely in the virtual world Second Life, this one-day conference will provide you with the opportunity to experience and learn about the possibilities of hosting stakeholder learning events using virtual reality.

You'll participate in presentations, discussions . . . even "field trips" that demonstrate how virtual reality is being used for stakeholder learning today.

What You'll Learn:

► The benefits and drawbacks of working with stakeholders in Second Life, including when it's appropriate, efficient and effective—and when it's not

► How Second Life differs from other technologies used for stakeholder engagement

► How Second Life can be used for a range of subject areas, including—but not limited to—environmental management

► Tips for using Second Life effectively, including how to access existing "islands" or spaces within Second Life's virtual world and how to create your own space 

View the conference agenda >>

You don't need prior experience with Second Life to attend, but you will need to create a Second Life account (it's free) in order to participate.

An orientation for registrants new to Second Life (and those who want a refresher) will be provided prior to the conference.

Government agencies to use social networking sites

via Nextgov.com:

Agencies can now engage with citizens through popular media technologies such as video-sharing service YouTube, using pre-negotiated service agreements that comply with federal terms and conditions.

After nine months of negotiations, the General Services Administration signed agreements with four video-sharing and social networking sites: Flickr, Vimeo, blip.tv and YouTube. GSA also is negotiating with the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace.[...]

Most agencies will appoint directors of new media to determine how they can use social networking tools to meet mission goals and comply with President Obama's open government directive, said Sheila Campbell, team leader of Web best practices for the government portal USA.gov and co-chair of the Federal Web Managers Council.

Very exciting!


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