Summary of Citizenville
|By integrating democratic government with cutting-edge American innovation, the lieutenant governor of California charts a bright future for open-source America
Citizenville is the story of how ordinary citizens can use new digital tools to dissolve political gridlock and transform American democracy. As social networking and smart phones have changed the way we communicate with one another, these technologies are also changing our relationship with government.
In a world where people can do anything at the touch of a button—shop, communicate, do research, publish a blog, transfer money—government cannot keep functioning in a twentieth-century mind-set. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom explores the many ways in which technology can transform government and empower citizens: Opening up vast troves of government data, then letting people create apps to use them wisely. Harnessing the popularity of online games to establish a kind of “Angry Birds for Democracy.” Inventing new feedback loops so people can take active part in every facet of governing.
Drawing on wide-ranging interviews with thinkers and politicians, Citizenville is the first book by Lieutenant Governor Newsom. He broke new ground as the mayor of San Francisco, one of the most high-tech, experimental, and progressive municipalities in the nation. But when Newsom’s tenure as mayor began, he found that San Francisco was behind the likes of Estonia and South Korea in terms of digital governance. Newsom’s quest to modernize one of America’s most modern cities—and the amazing results he achieves—form the backbone of this far-reaching book.
Lieutenant Governor Newsom explains how the problems of twenty-first-century America are too big and too expensive for the government simply to buy solutions. Instead, we must innovate our way out. Just as the post office and the highway system provide public infrastructure to channel both personal and private enterprise—a platform upon which citizens can grow—so too could a modern digital government house the needs, concerns, information, and collaboration of an enlightened digital citizenry.
Citizenville shows that the only way Americans can secure their future is by reinventing their relationship to government, just as they have countless times before.