Northern California city uses technology for a more open and transparent government

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Oakland at night (photo: damianpenny/Flickr)

Look around you. Anywhere you go, you’ll find someone on their smartphone or tablet. Nowadays, coffee shops and restaurants have free wi-fi, so you can even find some folks on their laptops. In this day and age, it’s hard not to stay connected.

Yet, with all of this technology, the city of Oakland was running behind trying to catch up. It seems odd considering the city is also home to some of the world’s leading technology companies. 

Well, no longer will Oakland be playing catch up. Code for America recently selected the Bay Area city to participate in its 2013 Code for America program.

The organization will connect the city with top talent from the tech industry to develop civic technology.  City leaders hope, with the technology, they’ll be able to keep pace with the community they serve by creating and implementing new applications and by demonstrating new ways of resolving local challenges.

“The City of Oakland is fortunate to have creative, committed, and tech-savvy residents and community partners,” said Mayor Jean Quan. 

City leaders are committed to an open and transparent government and believe using technology will help cut costs, increase efficiency and provide better service to its citizens.

“We are excited for change and committed to leveraging the power of apps, software and the Web to make Oakland a more efficient, transparent and participatory City,” said the mayor.

“It makes sense that cutting-edge innovations being grown and launched locally by private sector businesses could be applied to our work in City Hall. City services should benefit from the same efficiencies that private sector products rely on,” said City Administrator Deanna Santana.

Earlier this year, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution supporting an Open Data initiative. The city hopes by sharing their data freely, there will be more opportunities for economic development and more citizens will be more engaged and involved.

The new platform is set to launch by January 2013.


Cheryl Getuiza

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