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!


A late Happy New Year to everyone! I'm going to try something new this year, which we'll announce in a few weeks, and therefore put this blog to rest for a while. More to come shortly...

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

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Social Web Counter

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Promising Practices Presentation at eCitizenship Institute

­On November 12 and 13, the ­Center for the Study of Citizenship hosted an institute, “eCitizenship: New Tools, New Spaces, New Strategies,” in collaboration with the American Democracy Project–itself a collaboration of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the New York Times. I gave one of the plenary addresses based on our Promising Practices in Online Engagement paper. Other presentations were given by Jose Vargas of the Huffington Post, David Smith of the National Conference on Citizenship. 34 AASCU campuses were represented by 110 faculty, administrators, and students.

Watch my full presentation >>

Participatory Budgeting in Cologne, Germany

My former colleague Matthias Trenel at Zebralog posted a great slideshow that highlights their multi-channel approach to create a participatory budget for the City of Cologne in Germany. Having been involved in some of their earlier work around participatory budgeting in Berlin, I'm amazed how far their approach has evolved.



[­Via Intellitics

Collaborative Architecture in Second Life

Clip that highlights­ the fascinating ways architects already use Second Life to collaborat­e and engage with stakeholders during the design process. 


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.

Use of Social Media in Urban Planning

­­­Nice overview by Crystal Wilson at PlaceVision.
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