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January 3, 2011 / Omar J. Peters

What Apple Did for Cities

Apple Logo

This recent article on takes a look at the growing partnership between city governments and software developers.

City officials are trying to encourage citizen engagement by making communication between residents and city agencies easier and seamless. City data is being opened up and made available so developers can create software and apps that residents can use to send information to city departments and also receive information about their city.

In explaining the reason for the recent growth in developer-city partnerships, the article mentions Apple iPhone. It is evident that the popularity and success of the phone and the App Store (which has spurred others like the Android OS and its own app store) may indeed be the factor catalyzing these partnerships and open government. The App Store made it easier for developers to get their software out to users, and users have a place where they can easily find and download mobile apps (Remember how people discovered and downloaded to their phones pre-iPhone? They didn’t. Being able to easily find apps that pertain to them and where they live, people are more enticed to use city related apps, and city agencies are quickly using that platform to reach the people.

Boston's Citizen Connect iPhone App


CDTA iPhone App

CDTA iPhone App



Leave a Comment
  1. Lauren / Jan 3 2011 2:21 pm

    Check out the work he is doing. They are working on an application for apple to rate the walkability of streets. I essentially wrote my GIS paper on his work.

    • Omar J. Peters / Jan 3 2011 8:15 pm

      Pretty cool. The walkability/SRTS test as a mobile app: “iPhone to identify problems on their walking or cycling journey, quickly identify the location, magnitude of the problem. The data will be uploaded to a centrally accessible map for city staff, citizen groups, to use.”

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