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Cool Idea: City Forward Initiative

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I wrote about IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge back in December. At the time, I pointed out that “[t]his is exactly the type of model that should be replicated as widely as possible, including in Virginia’s cities and urban areas…if we want to break our addiction on foreign oil, deal with environmental problems like global warming and sprawl, and save ourselves a great deal of money on energy costs.”

Today, I just wanted to point you to this article, which talks about something else along similar lines – the City Forward initiative.

…What is City Forward? It is a tool that pulls public data from urban centers on different issues (user specified) and displays it in customizable graphs.

For example, users can create an ‘exploration’ for important environmental issues such as water usage in multiple cities, and then have it displayed in charts that will visually present the data in a way that people can understand it. These charts allow anyone to make a case or tell a story about what one city or many cities are doing to improve in an areas such as this one, and what others are neglecting.

In other words, in addition to being groundbreaking in its potential applications, it’s a pretty cool tool for improving government transparency and letting people access public records in a useful, understandable way.

Sounds like a great idea, who’s not for transparency and improving our quality of life? Other than Eric Cantor, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell, of course.