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Guest Blog from Buildingeye | How Palo Alto Makes It Easier for Staff and Citizens to View Planning Applications

Ciaran Gilsenan
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Earlier this month, buildingeye joined with the City of Palo Alto and Accela on a webinar to share how we worked together to bring life to Palo Alto city’s planning data in just a matter of weeks. After a brief introduction by Ken Sawtelle, Director of Accela’s Center of Excellence team, I introduced Roland Rivera, a Land Use Analyst in the City of Palo Alto, who demonstrated and explained how he uses the buildingeye application to enhance his daily work with better outcomes and efficiencies. Dealing with over 400 planning applications per year, from variances to individual and architectural reviews including amendments and zone changes,… Continue reading

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Guest Blog from CitySourced | The Value of the Accela Civic Platform for Government Agencies

Andrew Kirk
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At the Accela Engage User Conference in San Diego, many of us heard Accela software referred to as the “Civic Platform.” What does it really mean to be a software platform? For us at CitySourced, as a strategic development partner for Accela, we believe the platform provides the back-office foundation on which our solution can thrive. We’ve created a citizen engagement platform that serves as a municipality’s “mobile City Hall.” Through our solution, a resident can get easy access to such services as reporting a pothole (asset management), submitting overgrown brush (fire code enforcement), purchasing a fishing or pet license (licensing) or paying a parking… Continue reading

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On Open Data, Platforms and Public/Private Partnerships

Jeff Stiles
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Mark Headd and I were asked by Professor Peter Robertson to share our perspectives at the upcoming Academy of Management Conference. Unfortunately, our Engage Conference precludes us from attending in person, so we filmed a brief video to send on our behalf. We had a chance to discuss the Accela Civic Platform and CivicData.com and to share our thoughts on: Challenges and opportunities agencies face when building open data How standardization is essential to fostering innovation The value of open data to agencies, developers and citizens How public/private partnerships foster innovation How a platform approach is essential for scale How civic engagement and collaborative governance… Continue reading

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Working on a New Vision of Democracy at CivicMakers

Megan Lunetta
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In a world of civic cynicism and disconnection, a surprising group of people came together to discuss a new vision for democracy. The first Inaugural CivicMakers Salon was held this week at the Runway Incubator in San Francisco. The challenge posed to event attendees was to answer this question: What should real democracy look like and how can technology help us get there? A new conversation about the opportunity to use technology to bridge the gap between government and citizens is being encouraged by events like this. To kick it off we heard from one of the event organizers, Lawrence Grodeska, Director of Nonprofit Community… Continue reading

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Looking for the Next Great Civic Startup: The Accela Civic App Challenge

Mark Headd
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At Accela, we’re committed to finding ways to leverage the talents and ideas of civic entrepreneurs and open data hackers to benefit the governments we serve. We believe that fostering the creation of new civic startups has enormous potential to benefit public sector agencies, and we’re committed to finding ways to do this. That’s why we were thrilled several weeks ago to launch the Accela Civic App Challenge. The ProblemThe biggest challenge facing governments in adopting new civic technologies is the absence of an easy way to incorporate new solutions into their existing IT infrastructure. Creating a framework in which civic hackers and entrepreneurs can… Continue reading

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Open Data Delivering on Its Promise to Bring Governments and Citizens Together

Jeff Stiles
The open government movement is gaining critical momentum, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. Making the data the government collects publicly available has the power to transform everyday life by better informing our decisions, from what restaurant to eat at, to where to start your business, to what apartment to rent. Just last week we had great presence at events from Sacramento to Berkeley. There was an exciting group of experts lined up to speak at California FWD’s open data event—including Kris Trujillo, the lead architect of Accela’s free open data portal, CivicData.com. Kris talked about open data as the key to bridging the divide… Continue reading

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Guest Blog from Town of Framingham, MA: HTML5 App Development with the Accela API

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***Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Alan Holt, Manager of Data Services for the IT department in the Town of Framingham, Massachusetts.*** The other day I was asked by my director to take a survey about what motivates me to do my job well here in the Town of Framingham, Massachusetts. I was supposed to pick my top 3 motivators. Of course I started to check off MONEY, then paused and spent some time reflecting on what really does motivate me. When I handed in the survey, money did not even make the cut. I was surprised to realize my top choice was “Interesting Work.”… Continue reading

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Guest Blog: Building a Better Palo Alto with Civic Insight

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Civic Insight, one of Accela’s app partners. Picture this: you’re an entrepreneur who’s just signed the lease on your new storefront. You’re itching to knock down some walls, to make the space embody your vision. Or maybe you’re a homeowner looking to remodel your kitchen, or finally finish out that basement. These folks are vital to a thriving city: the ones launching new businesses, fixing up old buildings, investing in their homes and creating new places for residents to live, work and play. As a public servant looking to foster economic development, you want to make it… Continue reading

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Guest Blog from Code for America | Open Data and Flamingos at Accela Engage: 2013 User Conference

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Today’s guest blog post comes from Code for America, an Accela partner and attendee at Accela Engage: 2013 User Conference in San Diego this week: By Ashley Meyers, Development and Engagement Manager, Code for America A year ago, when I first met Maury Blackman, CEO of Accela, and Kris Trujillo, then senior software architect (since promoted to Director of Software Development), we spoke about support for the 2013 Oakland Fellowship project. Little did I know that Accela would become a generous corporate sponsor of our 2013 programs and a partner on open data and data standards. Thanks to funding from Accela and other local match partners… Continue reading

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Hacking for Civic Good…and Tacos

Kris Trujillo
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On Saturday June 1st, Civic Hackers across America united with a common thread, to change their communities by creating new mobile, web and social applications during the National Day of Civic Hacking. One Utah group in particular, Open Salt Lake, held Hack for Salt Lake, an event sponsored by Accela. At the hackathon, civic hackers worked with the City to access the Accela Automation system via the Accela Civic Platform, leading to the creation of a mobile application code named “Taco Cart.” The Taco Cart app was designed to solve for an existing problem facing Salt Lake residents today: locating the many food carts scattered… Continue reading

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