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U of M students are coming up with ways to make local governments more open

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Some University of Michigan graduate students spent a few hours today outlining plans for using new technologies to make local governments more open.

The students have been using the city of Jackson as a civic laboratory to come up with ways to improve connections between local governments and residents.

Cliff Lampe with the U of M School of Information is the director of the three-year project.    He says previous studies have focused on much larger cities, like Chicago and San Francisco.

“There are many more cities the size of Jackson than there are the size of Chicago,” says Lampe. “So we really wanted to see if this could be a proof of concept in what we consider a really classic American city.”

Next month, the Jackson City Council is expected to vote on implementing some of the project’s proposals to make city government more open. The ideas include creating greater access to digital archives and using text messaging to pass along tips to city cops. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.