Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Sep 18th 2009 at 8:29am UTC

Open City

Creative Class Exchange blogger and Martin Prosperity Institute affiliate David Eaves has made it happen in Vancouver.

A wealth of city knowledge is now online as Vancouver becomes one of the most open cities in the world. The information means a click on your smart phone could get you to an open parking space, or a free drink of water.

David Eaves helped city hall create the open source motion, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, “For hundreds of years, cities have been collecting all sorts of data, everything from what the maps of the city are to the location of drinking fountains, but it’s always stayed locked behind city wall because it was written down on paper and so you actually had to go to city hall to access it.”  While much of the information seems innocuous, web developers can use it for all sorts of applications. …

When Vancouver passed the open source motion in May, it became the first city to do so, though cities like Washington and San Francisco have already been providing similar information.

The full story is here. Vancouver’s website here. And Eaves’ own report here.

3 Responses to “Open City”

  1. Creative Class: Open City | The Daily MBA Says:

    [...] all city documents are freely open to review) is a great thing. San Francisco is starting this but Vancouver made it a law (or motion, their Canadian). Open city data is the first step in Open Source [...]

  2. Michael Wells Says:

    Reminds me of the iPhone app I got last week — PDXBus for Portland transit. It shows upcoming real-time arrivals of transit (bus, light rail, streetcar) at any stop. I’ve got all of the 8 stops I regularly use bookmarked, so I just hit say “NW 32 & Thurman” for the bus stop 2 blocks from my house or “Streetcar North” for the streetcar stop a block from my office.

    I can see where the bus is on Google Maps, look at the schedule for any route, get route & detour alerts. It also has a feature that produces a flashing blue light to signal a bus driver at night.

  3. Michael Wells Says:

    I was thinking, there are a number of iPhone apps that provide this kind of information — for the U.S. at least. Opening municipal databases is good, but the booming smart phone market is getting way ahead of government. I loaded a few before our recent vacation in the Midwest:
    • Urban Spoon — Restaurants near your location.
    • Fandango — Movies in any city or by zip code.
    • Localvore — What’s in season in your area, and nearby organic markets.
    • AroundMe – Banks, bars, coffeehouses, gas stations, hospitals, hotels, parking, restaurants, etc. near your location.
    • AAA Discounts — Shopping bargains for members.

    Of course these are only a few of the 75,000 apps out there.

    I don’t know what’s available for other smart phones, but I imagine there are, or will be, similar sites.