Change the system: civic tech lessons from Amsterdam, and a wrap-up from across Europe

I think Amsterdam might be (whisper it) more beautiful than Paris. It’s the canals. And the architecture, particularly the social housing — which has been cutting-edge since about 1910.

Apart from wandering around thinking “I’d really like to live here”, I also met up with two democracy-focused organisations. One that I would call classic civic tech, and one that takes a wider democratic engagement role, but that has helped deliver some interesting digital products. With a general election approaching in March 2017, it’s an exciting time for Dutch civic tech.

Amsterdam was also, alas, the last stop on EuroCivicTechTour2016 — so I round off this post with some reflections of the State of Europe’s Civic Tech.  Continue reading Change the system: civic tech lessons from Amsterdam, and a wrap-up from across Europe

Howard Zinn: A People’s History of the USA

After far too long, I finally finished Howard Zinn’s epic A People’s History of the USA. It’s a unique historical effort, a story of poverty, unrest and injustice. Compared to something like ‘The Penguin History of the USA‘, this is a story not focused on powerful men, but on unions, indigenous peoples, blacks and women. Continue reading Howard Zinn: A People’s History of the USA