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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
 

Devin Balkind

Devin Balkind

  • rally city hall

    (photo: John McCarten/NY City Council)


    Many people are wondering whether rapid advances in communication technology will improve or degrade American democracy. Last decade, the answer seemed to be: improved! Wikipedia’s growth showed us the unimaginable “wisdom of the crowd,” WordPress made it possible for the world’s smartest people to share their thoughts with everyone for free, and Google was quickly “organizing the world’s information” for the benefit of all. Democratic utopia, here we come!

    Now, the narrative has shifted and it appears to many that

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  • planning labs bx cd9 profile shot

    City Planning's Planning Labs


    Private sector innovations in information technologies are transforming virtually every industry, and the rate of change seems to be accelerating. A decade ago, Facebook was a website used almost exclusively by college students to keep in touch with each other; today it’s one of the world’s largest media distributors with the capability of swaying elections simply by tweaking its algorithms; and in ten years it’ll likely be directing a self-driving car to drop you off at your friend’s

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  • capital project dbalkin

    Construction in Corona Plaza (photo via DOT)


    Few things impact the lives of New Yorkers more than the city’s “capital projects.” These projects create, maintain, and improve the infrastructure New Yorkers use every day, including: streets, bridges, tunnels, sewers, parks, and so much more. In 2018, the capital budget will be $16.2 billion, approximately 17% the size of the city’s $85.2 billion “expense budget.” What are these projects? How can you find out about them? It’s not easy, but it should be.

    The Capital Budgeting process is a complex endeavour. The City

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  • Sandy devastation

    After Sandy (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Over the last few weeks, New Yorkers have watched with great anxiety as Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, among many other places, were pummeled by massive hurricanes. Whenever we see storm destruction, memories of Sandy re-enter our consciousness; as does the question: Is New York City significantly better prepared for the next big one? My answer is “No.”

    As a technology professional in disaster management, I’m constantly on the lookout for better ways to use software tools and information

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