NYC Council Introduces Tech Program to Engage Residents and Increase Transparency

Posted On Wed, April 15, 2015 By

Posted On Wed, April 15, 2015 By In Policy, Technology

Melissa Mark-Viverito via Wiki Commons

Last week it was announced that the New York City Council was introducing new legislation to alter the landmarks law in favor of historic preservation. But just four days later, after facing scrutiny for proposing already-existing stipulations to the law, the council spoke out that they were in fact not proposing any legislation. Now, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has revealed with perfect timing Council 2.0, “a new tech program aimed at familiarizing and engaging residents with the city council,” reports Next City. The goals of the program include making the council’s website more accessible, using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to generate feedback on hearings, programs, and proposals and creating a new website called Council Labs to help New Yorkers visualize the budget process.

Council 2.0, New York City Council

An internal committee of the city council called the Working Group on Public Technology and Civic Engagement worked with experts in the digital technology field to conceive Council 2.0. The project will be rolled out in phases, creating new ways to utilize social media and mobile technology to engage city residents and making publicly accessible council reports and the legislative database.

In a press release Speaker Mark-Viverito said: “Council 2.0 will utilize technology to make the Council more responsive, transparent, and open for every resident in this city. This is a plan that includes and serves all New Yorkers. Through this framework, we will grow the council into a digitally agile institution that adapts with emerging technology while remaining connected to the public.” Similarly, Council Member Brad Lander said: “By providing open access to council data, improving our social media platforms, and taking concrete steps to pilot new models of engagement, we are building a more inclusive city. Like participatory budgeting, more engaging public technology helps us to hear the voices of New Yorkers–an essential step to doing our job right and strengthening our local democracy.”

[Via Next City]

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