I've had an incredibly busy week this week, and have had little time to put together a DIYcity Friday post (last week I missed altogether!). I did have lunch/dinner with two friends, NY State CIO Andrew Hoppin and Open Plans' Nick Grossman, and our conversations prompted a lot of thinking about cities, reinvention, openness, DIY, and where all of this is going.
Here are a few hastily-written notes on those thoughts. (These are my thoughts, not theirs, of course).
FIrst of all, Open Gov is too small a term for what's going on in cities. I felt that over a year ago, and wrote about it on O'Reilly Radar, and it's becoming even more apparent now. Of course Open Gov is a big part of what's happening, but it's only one part. Specifically, it was the part that needed to happen first - the foundation that had to be built before anything else could happen.
After several years of work, open gov principles are starting to get in place and get into use in certain cities around the U.S. and elsewhere. And the scale that it is happening on now is an order of magnitude larger than just two years ago.
And what is about to flower is something much bigger than Open Gov - it is a total reinterpretation of cities themselves, of how things are done in them, who does them, how effective they are, how efficient they are. The way we think of cities is about to undergo a huge (and necessary, and healthy) change.
But it hasn't quite happened just yet.
For this to really catch fire, for this next step to happen, one key component still has to be put in place. That is the element of sustainability. Not as in ecological sustainability, but as in business sustainability: we have to discover ways for those who work to make their cities better to do so not out of a sense of charity, but as a way of making revenue, making a living.
The DIYcity has to move beyond people taking action out of a sense of community interest, as civic hackers, as barn-raisers, and into a stage where people are being actually compensated for their actions - provided their actions are valued by the community. We have to move from a mindset of civic hackers to one of civic entrepreneurs.
Once it does that, the DIYcity becomes a real ecosystem, one capable of sustaining itself indefinitely.
That's the big step that has to be taken, the big gap that has to be crossed, and once it is, the transformation of cities is going to explode at an amazing rate.
I think we're already beginning to see this happen. And I want DIYcity to be an accelerator for that change, make it happen in cities all over the world more and more quickly.
That's what I've been thinking about when I think about DIYcity and the next two years. That's what I've been talking to people about.
I could go on, but have to get to a meeting now! More to come on this thought.