The McKinsey Global Institute May 2013 Report – Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy

If You Read One Thing This Year

Cary, NC – At the Cary Chamber of Commerce 2013-2014 Planning Conference, Ted Abernathy, Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, told us to read only one thing this year: The McKinsey Global Institute May 2013 Report – Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy

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Town of Cary Website clip as of June 9, 2013

Electronic Participation in Government Meetings

Cary, NC – The Town of Cary now allows electronic participation in 2 of their 6 Boards and Commissions. At their April 18, 2013 meeting, the Cary Town Council approved a modification of the staff recommendation for electronic participation in meetings (Staff report TC13-07). In our opinion this modification to the policy unnecessarily creates a burden on town staff without offering the potential benefits to the board and commission members. Regardless of that, citizens with distance, time and/or disability issues now have the ability to participate in the development of  policy in the Town of Cary.

I participated electronically in the June 3, 2013 meeting of the Information Services Advisory Board (ISAB). My comments to Sue Rowland, the Cary Town Clerk, are as follows:

Once the meeting started, I was able to hear everything that was discussed in the meeting and was able to discern the different speakers after a few times of them giving their names. It was great to be able to hear the give and take in the meeting. Much better than just reading the minutes later on. The ISAB members are truly passionate about their responsibility.

What was really great was that 5 people had registered to participate electronically and 2 of us spoke during the public input part of the meeting. This input would have been lost if not for the new policy, so kudos to Cary.

The issue of electronic meetings is also being discussed in the NC State government. Thom Tillis, Speaker of the NC House, can be heard discussing electronic meetings in the May 14, 2013 edition of Carolina Newsmakers (1:17 – 3:20 is the discussion about electronic meetings). This rule change would be groundbreaking and would allow citizen involvement while reducing the burden on those who serve us in public office. I am not sure of the current status of electronic meetings in NC State government, but I have heard from at least one house member that the effort may be stalled because this is a slippery slope towards electronic voting in NC elections. I hope this is not the case.

In Cary, your next opportunities to participate electronically in meetings are:

Remember that you need to follow the Town Policy with regards to attending the meetings on an electronic basis.

Get involved and let us know what you think about Electronic Access for Government Meetings. Will this help to bring more transparency in your government?

Code for America Brigade logo

Cary Forms a Code for America Brigade

Cary, NC – The Code for America civic movement started in Raleigh and is rapidly spreading through the Triangle. There is strength in numbers and we all feel that the issues we want to solve, we want to solve on a regional basis. A state wide basis would be even better.

Cary Brigade Meeting

Cary’s brigade has started with finding several volunteers to be Brigade Captains. The Cary Brigade will hold a kick-off meeting on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 starting at 7:00 PM (EST) in Cary. The information is loaded in the Triangle Code for America Meetup Site. Register and join the Cary Code for America Brigade.

What is next for the Triangle?

Durham and Morrisville are also in the process of forming Brigades. The plan may be to form a Code for America Division for the Triangle, something that does not yet exist in the Code for America structure.  The Triangle Region would then apply to be a Code for America City in 2015 with support from the municipalities of the Triangle.

If this sounds cool, then join the Brigade in your Town or City, or help to form one.

Imagine Cary Age Graph

Where are the Millenials?

Cary, NC – On looking at the graph, the question popped into my mind. Scott Ramage, AICP, Principal Planner for the Town of Cary Planning Department was speaking at the monthly Economic Development Committee Meeting on May 1, 2013. We were getting a preview of the information developed for Imagine Cary.

The above graph bugged me. The 20-29 year old grouping was very low for Cary compared to the region. Why was Cary missing a generation? Is this something new or has it always been that way? Raleigh seemed to have the alternate trend as their 20-29 year old group was much larger than Cary.

Census Data

I went to the US census data to try to answer my question. There is a very useful tool on the site, Fact Finder, that lets you sift through the many, many census databases to come up with some information.

I pulled out data for 2000 and 2010 and below is the age distributions I found for Cary.

Cary Age Distribution 2000 vs 2010

The age range in 2000 of the current Millenial generation also has a drop off, so this does not look to be something new for Cary.  The graph seems to point out a decrease in the population of younger professionals and an increase in the older professionals and those who are most likely retired.

Why are the Age Ranges Different?

I know you will ask the question as to why the age ranges are different from the chart taken from Scott’s presentation and mine. The answer comes from the age ranges that are reported by the Census tables. For some reason, the age range reporting for the 2000 census is different than the 2010 census. The 2000 census reported many age ranges in split decades (ie. 35-44) so it was not possible to get the 2000 age ranges to match up to the 2010 age ranges. I was able to go in the reverse and get 2010 data to fit into the age ranges reported in the 2000 census data.

Wake and Raleigh

I also looked at the population change in Wake County and Raleigh for completeness.
Wake County Age Distribution 2000 vs 2010
Raleigh Age Distribution 2000 vs 2010

What Does This Mean?

I’m not sure. This is just one view of a huge amount of data that is available to us. The answers may be found with much more analysis. The Open Data movement will help as more data becomes available for civic hackers to chew on.

What do you think?

RGreenway Image

RGreenway Expands to Include Cary

Cary, NC – There is good news today for everyone in the Triangle. The RGreenway App has been updated to include all of the 68-miles of greenways in Cary.

Previous to today only the Raleigh greenways were shown and the Raleigh boundaries were like the end of the word for greenway users. Now the greenways are continuous on the App all over Raleigh and Cary. This is a great step forward. We look forward to all the Triangle area greenways being added over time.

RGreenway Development

RGreenway was the winning proposal of CityCamp Raleigh in 2012. The application is not a product of the City of Raleigh. It was created by the RGreenway team and was built using open data available through the official Raleigh Geoportal.

RGreenway is available for iPhone, iPad and Android. It’s free. Visit RGreenway and get the app for yourself. If you already have the RGreenway App, then you will need to update to version 2.0 to see the Cary greenways.

What is CityCamp?

From the CityCamp Website we find the following:

CityCamp is an unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organizations. As an unconference, content for CityCamp is not programmed for a passive audience. Instead, content is created and organized by participants and coordinated by facilitators. Participants are expected to play active roles in sessions. This provides an excellent format for creative, open exchange geared toward action.

When is the next CityCamp in NC?

CityCamp Raleigh has recently become CityCamp NC to be more of a state wide initiative. The next CityCamp NC is scheduled for May 30-31, 2013.

If you have the skills and interest you will not want to miss the upcoming CityCamp NC so register today. Who knows what new cool Apps will come out of CityCamp this Year!

Imagine Cary logo

Imagine Cary Preview

This morning the Chamber of Commerce got a preview of Imagine Cary.  Scott Ramage, AICP, Principal Planner for the Town of Cary Planning Department spoke at the monthly Economic Development Committee Meeting.  Everyone that will be attending the Summit on the Future this Thursday night will get to see lots of good information.

Changing Demographics

The median age of Cary Citizens is the third highest among the 14 largest cities in NC. From the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census, the median age of Cary increased from 33.7 to 36.6 years old. This is a much faster increase in age than is being seen in neighboring Raleigh, or Wake County, NC or the US.

A Missing age Group?

The 20 to 29 year old population in Cary is noticeably missing with only 10.9%. Compare this to 14% regionally and nationally. Raleigh has 19.7% of their population in the 20 to 29 year old range! The 30-39 year old population in Cary is also a little low for the region.

This age range drop off comprises the age group of the Millenial generation.

Cary is Diverse

Cary leads the 14 largest municipalities in percentage of citizens who are foreign born. Cary has 19.1% foreign born which beats out the next highest cities of Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh which all come in around 14.5%

What does this mean for Cary?

We are really not sure, but this is what the Imagine Cary process is all about. Asking questions, challenging beliefs and determining what we want to be and look like 20 years from now.

There is lots more information than the few things that struck me, so get involved to find out more. Scott mentioned that a “Snapshot Report” will be available in about a week which will include much more information. The report as well as all Imagine Cary information can be found on the Imagine Cary Website at

Town of Cary logo

Open Government is Hard To Do

Cary, NC – On April 18, 2013, the Town of Cary Town Council discussed the “Use of Technology to Enhance Town of Cary Public Meetings” covered by Staff Report TC13-07.  The staff report was a follow up to the findings of the Town’s Technology Task Force (TTF) and a request from the Town’s Information Services Advisory Board (ISAB).  The Town Staff did a great job of distilling the findings and recommendations of the TTF in putting the report together and offering a groundbreaking recommendation that would have resulted in a very open process for Boards and Commissions.

It was not an easy discussion and the Council struggled with this topic for almost 40 minutes of  a Council meeting.  You can see the discussion on the Town of Cary YouTube channel:

The private sector has embraced electronic meetings as a way to increase productivity and enable attendance for a geographically dispersed workforce at a low cost. Telephone conference calls have been around for years, and newer technologies like WebEx, GoTo Meeting, Google Hangouts and many others have revolutionized meetings with video, whiteboard sharing, chat functionality, etc. that have dramatically increased the effectiveness of electronic meetings.

The Council discussions focused more on distractions from rude attendees and the perceived need to have everyone physically present rather than the empowerment and productivity that Technology tools can bring to meetings. The Council did decide to allow Board and Commission meetings to be opened for electronic attendance by citizens which is a strong message that the Town is moving towards Open Government. The Board and Commission members however were restricted in their ability to participate via electronic meetings.

In one year the Town will review their decision, so we hope that the Cary Town Council will then adopt their staff recommendation of a truly open and empowering process.

Town of Cary logo

Technology in Action

Cary, NC – Technology in action.  A view from a Town Council meeting in Cary, NC.  A 3-part play.

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Cary Open Data Day Image

Cary Open Data Day – New Sponsor

Cary, NC – is generously supporting Cary Open Data Day as an Event Sponsor.  As I write, there are 68 Developers, Designers, Data Analysts, Policy Wonks, Hackers and Citizens registered for the event which will run most of the day of Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Cary Chamber of Commerce.

There is still time for your company to join the growing list of sponsors.  Please contact Ian Henshaw for more information.

For more information please visit the Cary Open Data Day Website