Good city government websites?
January 16, 2006 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Examples of well-designed local city government websites?

When I recently relocated to a new city, I visited the local municipal website to try to find some basic information -- garbage pickup schedules, local DMV information, and other new resident information.

Unfortunately, I found a site filled with broken links, PDFs instead of actual web pages, dark blue type against blue backgrounds, buried or missing information, etc.

Does anyone know of any local city/county websites that get things right? Sites that actually provide a service to their residents, whether it's through an accessible/functional design, useful information/services offered, or at least isn't using blue type against blue backgrounds?
posted by jca to Law & Government (24 answers total)
Philadelphia's Website -
posted by tozturk at 9:57 AM on January 16, 2006

I like the Pittsburgh city website. I use it all the time.
posted by Alison at 10:18 AM on January 16, 2006

Yikes, here is the home page.
posted by Alison at 10:20 AM on January 16, 2006

Jakob Nielsen, a usability guru, reviewed several.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:20 AM on January 16, 2006

Toronto's site is pretty good... it suffers from the occasional PDF, but other than that, it does the trick, and looks professional.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:22 AM on January 16, 2006

Response by poster: seawallrunner: Is there a direct link to Nielsen's reviews you are referring to?
posted by jca at 10:31 AM on January 16, 2006

I'm partial to it for obvious reasons, but I like the St Petersburg, Florida website.
posted by willmize at 10:38 AM on January 16, 2006

Just so you aren't overwhelmed with big-city websites, here is the site for Evanston, Illinois.
posted by MrZero at 10:39 AM on January 16, 2006

Not a city per se but Montgomery County, MD kind of works like a city. Dig deep enough and you can find anything about the county.
posted by mshellenberger at 10:39 AM on January 16, 2006

San Francisco's is pretty good.
posted by trip and a half at 10:58 AM on January 16, 2006

I've always been able to find what I'm after on">Ottawa, ON's.
posted by mendel at 10:59 AM on January 16, 2006

Hurf? Ottawa, ON!
posted by mendel at 10:59 AM on January 16, 2006

Montreal's went from being a confusing mess to being quite appealing and accessible over the last year or so. (There's an "English" button top right, although you may find that some services only have their material in French.)
posted by zadcat at 11:15 AM on January 16, 2006

I think Buffalo's isn't too bad.

Looks pretty good. Fairly useful.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:24 AM on January 16, 2006

posted by blue_beetle at 11:40 AM on January 16, 2006

I always was impressed with

Washington state also has an incredibly informative, accessible site.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 12:15 PM on January 16, 2006

Northfield, MN has a remarkably well designed and useful site for a town of 13,000.
posted by SemiSophos at 12:36 PM on January 16, 2006

MuniNet does a review of good government sites every year. Last year's list included San Diego which has always been one of my faves. I was also constantly amazed by how easy Seattle's site has been for over a decade now.
posted by jessamyn at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2006

Richmond, VA's site ... oh my, it's been redesigned since the last time I visited there. The content on the site has often been helpful, anyway. I trust most of it is still there.
posted by emelenjr at 2:16 PM on January 16, 2006

I really like my city's site. Ypsilanti.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:37 PM on January 16, 2006

Response by poster: Apparently the city of San Diego has cloned the mayor. ;)
posted by jca at 3:25 PM on January 16, 2006

Not exactly a city site, but Washington's metro bus and rail site always tells me exactly what I need to know.
posted by borkingchikapa at 4:47 PM on January 16, 2006

Another vote for Toronto. It has all the information you could want from the city government, just about any report the city has produced, and a PDF of any form I've ever needed to fill in for the city. And it offers a wide variety of services also: you can register for swimming lessons (or any recreation program), pay your parking ticket, put a book on hold at the library, see just about any section of the local expressways on webcam, etc.
posted by winston at 6:30 PM on January 16, 2006

zadcat: Wow, in terms of sheer beauty and elegance, Montreal has everyone else beat.
posted by junesix at 10:55 PM on January 16, 2006

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