Many cities are taking steps toward Gov 2.0, from engaging citizens on social networks to crowdsourcing constitutions. Chicago is the latest in the growing list of cities embracing the open government movement. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently released a strategic plan directly focused on using open data to move Chicago toward open government.

Gov 2.0 is about making government more accessible by transforming government into a platform that is participatory, transparent and dramatically more efficient. In a city with a legacy of corruption, Chicago arguably has a long road to achieving open government, not just in actuality, but also in citizens’ perception. With this in mind, Chicago has implemented performance metrics to ensure open government and transparency happen.

Under Emanuel’s plan, Chicago is releasing about two datasets a week. City officials are doing what they can to upgrade technology and transparency. But Chicago officials realize open government is about more than just data.

When city officials look at their performance metrics, like what citizens most often call 311 to ask about, they can strategically work to improve city government. That’s the kind of crowdsourcing smarter government that San Francisco should be doing.

Chicago is Putting its Money Where its Mouth is With Open Government Apps

Chicago has created an Apps for Metro Chicago contest for developers to create smartphone and Internet apps using the City of Chicago open data portal, traffic and tourism data, and data from Cook County and MetroPulse. Currently, app designers have 175 data sets to utilize. The City of Chicago will award over $50,000 to winning apps. The city hopes these apps are another effort in transitioning data into real-time practical applications in citizen’s daily lives.

San Francisco Can Be a Leader

Chicago’s efforts toward Gov 2.0 and open government technology make it far from the “second city.” Chicago is demonstrating clear vision with its efforts, and serves as an excellent example for San Francisco. With San Francisco’s location in the heart of the tech world, the City has an opportunity not just to achieve greater government transparency, but also to be a leader in Gov 2.0.