In this podcast episode a court case is treated (with the public prosecutor) where during a fluke accident a girl riding along on a bike is killed by a bus in Amsterdam.
The thoroughness and consideration with which that is done contrasted immensely with how things run in Berlin and made it clear to me (again) how unserious this city is.
It’s super lovely that Berlin has a lab which does these kind of user tested innovations on city processes. The work that needs to be done is written up here and it’s relatively straight-forward (there are just no short-cuts).
What we need with the Bürgeramt though is not 10% more appointments but the automation of at least half of the processes there to no longer need human intervention. We needed that 10 years ago.
Important prototyping work to show how German government forms can be much better and much friendlier than what’s out there right now.
Getting anything like this to production will be very very difficult without a lot of systemic changes and groundwork done first.
For my notes, a bunch of receipts about just one of the dark pasts of the German Green Party.
Love to see these updates from the German Digital Service. Not sure everybody knows that that organization exists now and what they’re busy with.
The work they’re doing is really good but what’s really staggering is how much of a gap they have to bridge here. These are basic buildings blocks of digital transformation that advanced societies tackled 10-20 years ago.
Something we’re also noticing here is that people with dogs gather in courtyards and on fields in groups and let their dogs roam free, illegally.
They do this in groups together so that if somebody tells them not to, they can use their numbers to intimidate and as described here they use that and many other strategies with officers of the law.
Owning a dog in a dense urban environment is a questionable choice already, but the people around us here take the cake. There are quite a number of socially at-risk individuals who have dogs where both the animal and the human are deeply and certifiably deranged. Both of them accost any human who walks by and it’s often a question of who’s louder the dog’s barking or its owner’s ranting.
I think a forced dog register and quotas/waiting lists for some areas would be a good first step to control the situation here.
Lots of hours put in over the past year to achieve this and the only thing it means is that I get to put lots more hours in. Let’s go!
Not verified but an interesting data point in how German civil servants don’t have that attractive a position and can get better deals working indirectly for the people ‘at the engines of the global economy’.
That makes you wonder why the engines of the global economy are not here or if they are why it’s not possible to pay civil servants competitive both in compensation and in job satisfaction. To be able to get the best talent and create the kind of state capacity that justifies having a state, the best people working in the civil service should be paid competitively with the top of society.
Back when I read this exposé in November it struck me as gripping but also as something that could become messy. Turns out that’s true since the piece now has the mark “Censored” and some choice parts of text have been blanked out. I did a quick search but can’t find any updates what might have happened. If I find time later, I’ll look in the Wayback Machine to see what pieces of text disappeared.
The kind of property deals that are described in the article are par for the course in any up and coming city. Recently there was a piece about resistance to the city giving away one of its largest buildings to a private art gallery: https://www.freitag.de/autoren/der-freitag/portraet-wut-motiviert-mich
The academic backroom dealings should also be considered to be normal especially in small subfields such as Turkey studies. Academics are playing funding games more than they research and the web of foundations that float around are ways to creatively bookkeep and move money around. None of this is really surprising.