The City of Grande Prairie in Alberta has received a “green gov” award from Santa Monica-based Vision Internet, a government website developer. The company last week unveiled its inaugural “What’s Next” Awards, which honour excellence in municipal government websites in five categories: transparency, citizen engagement, online innovation, visual impact and green government.
Marion County and Palm Bay, Florida, were recognized for transparency and online Innovation, respectively. Reno was acknowledged for citizen engagement and San Angelo, Texas, received the award for visual impact.
“In this digital age, municipal websites have become the go-to source of information for residents and the first impression for visitors, businesses and families thinking of moving into a community,” said Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet’s director of strategic initiatives. “Our What’s Next Awards spotlight municipalities that exemplify how local government can embrace innovative technology to transform their organizations and enhance community interaction.”
Green gov strategies streamline the “business” of government by reducing material resources required for a range of council and city functions. The award recognized steps Grande Prairie had taken to move from print to digital – from litter reports to departmental newsletters, online environmental publications, and a comprehensive ecological directory – to promote a healthy community while also saving some $4,300 per year plus countless hours of staff time.
“Digital technology – from social media to text messaging and interactive websites – is a major force helping to increase citizen participation and foster greater accountability of governments at all levels,” said Fruechting. “As the relationships between citizens and public institutions change, our job as government website developers is to continue to look for what’s next on the horizon to help local governments anticipate and meet the changing needs of their constituents.”