Last week, the city of New York launched
"A software application competition to make New York City more transparent and accountable, and an easier place to live, work and play." (That mission makes me positively giddy.) It's called NYC BigApps
, and the city plans to open up dozens of public databases-including traffic data, restaurant health inspections, and property sales-with the hope that some clever programmer will create a useful web or mobile application based on what they find therein. San Francisco has been doing something similar
.There is $20,000 in prize money for the winners, as well as chance to luncheon with Mayor Bloomberg. But the real winners are the residents of New York, who will probably get some useful new technology to better navigate their complex city, and the knowledge that their legislators are a reasonably progressive bunch who are willing to embrace new ideas in service of better government.