Dan Tangherlini, the city administrator, pointed out that the contest came at a perfect time for D.C. due to the challenge that D.C. faces -- the fiscal constraints faced by every municipality today -- as well as the unique opportunity Washington, D.C., faces with the upcoming inauguration.

"We are going to have perhaps millions of our best friends and close relatives and fellow citizens come to this city," said Tangherlini. "[This contest has resulted in] a number of applications that are going to make their visit interesting, more fun and more rewarding."

Although the current "Applications for Democracy" contest is over, its effects are likely to live on for some time -- both in the new applications now available to D.C. residents and in the possibilities it opened with its new take on how city governments can leverage and involve citizens to sometimes accomplish the impossible.

David Aden  | 
David Aden is a writer from Washington, D.C.