By Ben Hecht.

It’s no surprise that technology has changed how people interact and redefined our notion of community. What you may not know is the extent to which governments today are using technology—moving towards a vision for ‘government as platform’. Cities across the U.S. are turning to data, software and application development, and even social media to improve operations and service provision, transform the relationship between citizen and government, and reduce costs. Boston, for example, has created smartphone applications to help the city track and report problems, from potholes to graffiti. There is great potential in how this transformation can replace the expertise of bureaucracy with a new service-oriented model that democratizes the real-time exchange of information and services, particularly for low-income people. New tools in data and technology should help make cities places of widespread opportunity for all residents.

Living Cities’ Urban Technologist in Residence, Nigel Jacob, helped found the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston, which incubates innovative experiments designed to improve city services for residents. In this video, Jacob explains how cities can harness technology and innovation for good.

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Originally posted at Living Cities.

Video by Jenna Pace Productions.