…of course it does!

Almost every city (and every other governmental entity, from local sewer district on up to Congress and the U.N.) can benefit from a Web 2.0 makeover. Russell Nichols at GovTech.com highlights Code for America, a new effort backed by Web 2.0 progenitor Tim O’Reilly to help local governments use the Web to “improve transparency, efficiency and citizen participation.”

Transparency, efficiency, and citizen participation–who doesn’t want more of that?

A couple things catch my attention about Code for America. First, CFA sees its mission as more than simply making more government data available to citizens. They recognize that online government tools are just about G2C; they also need to be C2G. In other words, CFA recognizes that government isn’t something done to us; government is something we all do. Citizens aren’t just consumers of government data; we are producers of data that we can use to improve our communities.

Also warming the cockles of my Web 2.0 heart is Code for America’s recognition of the importance of context, of place. CFA won’t just throw programmers in a room and ask them to make widgets. According to Nichols, CFA’s Web teams will spend a month living in their client cities. They’ll get to know their cities, the citizens their widgets will serve, and the problems those widgets will address. When it comes to local government, the World Wide Web needs to feel like a part of the neighborhood.

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