[OKFN-EN] Opendata census (sort of manifesto)
raimondi.and at gmail.com
Mon Mar 24 08:17:34 UTC 2014
First I'd like to thank Gianfranco for spreading the word of the census
at #ODIfriday. More I think one of the biggest problem for project like
this one is how to communicate the idea behind the work, as to involve as
much people as possible.
I wrote a post for the launch of the italian census,
but I post the translation below (the aim of the post was to engage as much
as possible with readers, so read it that way. I edited this post as to be
general in respect to the census, as a "scalable" idea. Sorry for the
Opendata Census - let's take the cities back
Bill Hicks <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Hicks> , one of the most
important stand-up comedians of our time, in a famous show in London
describes, through a scene from a Western movie, the arrogance of political
power. A gunman, in a dusty porch, pointing the gun at a farmer ordered him
to draw his own, and then shoot him, apologizing: "you've seen him, he had
a gun." FarWest aside, it is clear that the health of a democratic
community is not valued only by the duties to which as citizens you
complied with, but also on how much you are in position to exercise the
rights you are entitled. Are you? If you feel a bit ' like the farmer in
the movie, probably not.
Maybe, just maybe, in the place where you live something doesn't quite fit.
What do you miss? the power to know the same community you built. What does
not fit? that the people that intimates you to pick the gun are also the
few who use that knowledge on you, sometimes against. The solution? take it
It's easy to figure out what are the things that we do not know.Think. The
days starts, you do breakfast and pop put, on the same road you walk
towards the office there is always a bloody incident and a bloody row, but
how many accidents occur? the air you breathe, you know if it is polluted
and how much? stop the bar to grab a sandwich, but the mayonnaise looks
quite "alive", have they done a health inspection lately? and it would be
nice avoid running out of the bar (along with mayo) chasing the bus that
runs when it wants to? We have just started the day and the things that we
do not know already annoy us from the beginning.
Perhaps the most tiring one, at the end of the day, is to not know the
things that make us live better. But information is out there, somewhere on
the web, on a billboard paper, or in the hard disk of a computer. No matter
where and who you are, it's about looking for data, find them, and put them
all together. Yes, but where? On the new open date census of course.
The open data census is a civic initiative, made by citizens for citizens.
It does not meant to be just another tool for the government, which already
have many, but is Public Administration friendly because it helps the
government to work more easily. The census wants, above all, to create
urban communities interested in their own territory, the information that
flows around their local communities. Since the smartest communities is the
one able laugh itself off, the census also hopes to create an 'healthy
(and fun) competition between different cities, who is best in the
How big is the city, or smart, or how transparent his administration, is
small time for the census. What matters is how its citizens are good at
recovering the knowledge that they have lost. You says "ok, let's say we
want to do it, but how we do it?". Simple, schedule a data hunt. You can be
on your own at home, but do it with other people is much more fun (in this
case the nerds call it Hackathon <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackathon>).
You just need a computer connected to the Internet, you connect to the
census, find your own city and you begin to see what is missing in the
shopping list. And what is missing is your game to solve, even starting
We missed your city? no problem, let us know and we will update the list.
As information flows within the census, your next sandwich will not ride
with you behind the bus just passed, indeed, you will not run, because
you'll know exactly what time to catch it. You found all the information of
your city and you think the game is over? No way. The OpenData
championship is just at the beginning. And you will not find us making
referees, we will play together on the field.
It 's time to come out. Turn on the monitor, unsheathe your keyboards, the
battle for your city is just started.
Information is power. It 's time for you to take it back.
[image: Andrea Raimondi's Visual
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