John Geraci

John Geraci has spent the last six years making life in cities better with the use of web technologies. His latest project,, has web developers and urban planners all over the world teaming up to create open source tools for residents of cities everywhere. Prior to DIYcity Geraci co-founded the hyperlocal news network His earlier work, which includes web-meets-real-world projects Neighbornode, Foundcity and Grafedia, has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, Popular Science and other news sources. You can visit his website at

How Long is Your City's Tail?

A city that has totally open, unrestricted access to data and partnerships with business has the best chance of becoming the healthy, "long tail" city of the future, with head, "meaty middle" and tail, all working together, all reinforcing each other, all driving each other forward. That's the future of cities. It might be time to ask yourself: how long is your city's tail shaping up to be? The answer may determine, to a large degree, how much your city is a thriving place to live in decades to come.

What Will Open Gov Look Like in Five Years and in One Year?

Someone asked me the other day what I thought open governance was going to look like in five years. The more interesting question, I think, is what is it going to look like in a year? Five years from now, the open gov ecosystem looks a lot like the web itself. It's huge. There are parts that are open source and used freely by all, there are parts that are proprietary and profit-generating.

Open Gov Is a Dialogue, Not a Monologue

At last week’s Personal Democracy Forum I had a conversation with someone working for a city (I won’t say which city), who was tasked with opening up that city’s data. We were talking about the Apps for Democracy contests held recently in Washington D.C., and he explained his feeling about them: “There were some interesting apps in there, but overall they didn’t meet with the mayor’s agenda for the city.”

Naming an Emerging Movement

There’s a movement going on around the world. We don’t have a name for it, though. Gov2.0, e-gov, e-democracy, open gov–these are all names that get applied to what is happening. And they are great for describing a certain aspect of this movement, the aspect that actually deals with government. Recalling my post last week about the four pillars of an open civic system, these “gov” names–e-gov, gov2.0, open gov–focus on the G2C aspect of what is going on, to the exclusion of the other aspects of this open civic system that is emerging. So what do we call this new thing?

The Four Pillars of an Open Civic System

Everyone is talking a lot about open government and transparency these days. It's exhilarating stuff, and it's even more exciting to see governments get behind it, creating sites like in the U.S. for the public to access government information via APIs. But every time I hear someone say something like "our organization is really into transparency" (which is often)…

Trying to Track Swine Flu Across Cities in Realtime

John Geraci is a guest blogger and heads up the DIY City movement. He will be speaking about DIY City at Where 2.0 in San Jose on 5/20. Since early last friday, when I got a tip about swine flu in Mexico City from a health researcher, the team that does SickCity has been working to make the system something…

The Future of Our Cities: Open, Crowdsourced, and Participatory

Back in January, the city of Los Angeles announced a gap of $433 million for their 2009 budget. Instead of just cutting services however, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the unusual step of posting a survey online for residents of the city to fill out. For each category of city service, the survey asked residents, “what program would you reduce to help balance the budget?”, followed by an itemized list of services they could choose from. It was in one sense a remarkable sign of the new openness and desire for participation sweeping government all over the U.S.