In November, TEDxPhilly brought together some of our city’s brightest urbanists and performers for a day full of urban inspiration and ideas about The City . As promised, I’m sharing some of my favorite talks here on Eyes on the Street. Third up is Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director of Code for America, a program that matches web professionals with local governments to put city data to work in ways that improve local services. Philadelphia is a Code for America city again this year.
Pahlka believes that cities are improving even despite the economic downturn. She said, “You’re seeing local government leaders take the opportunity of this financial crisis, their budgets are getting cut. But instead of just saying ‘Okay we’re gonna cut back services,’ they’re finding ways to optimize the city.”
To Pahlka, cities are networks that thrive on connectivity. And by allowing the public to help “optimize” the city by mixing, mashing, and adapting city data, they can improve services and quality of life. And because cities are increasingly taking on global problems, better cities mean a better world.