Cities across the country should take a page out of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies like Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG), says IBM’s (IBM) chief data strategist, Steve Adler. ‘Cities are very hierarchical today,’ Adler said in an interview with TheStreet at New York’s Techweek. ‘We want them to be flatter and more open and transparent. We want the conversation with government to be bi-directional, instead of them telling citizens through press conferences what they are doing.’ Adler says cities should be viewed as IT platforms for communication between government and citizens. He refers to this concept as ‘smart cities.’ ‘You can’t be smart if you can’t communicate effectively,’ he said. ‘ As citizens, we’re communicating every day through social media and a variety of virtual platforms that largely our city government is not participating in.’ A real world example of a city operating under this model centers around every day citizens communicating with governments to fix various public issues. TheStreet’s Scott Gamm reports from New York.