There are many practical reasons for local governments to assemble a master address repository. One fundamental reason that is little explored, however, is the role of the address in civic life. Open addresses allow citizens to participate in their communities, and are part of the fabric of a "high trust" society. Addresses are open when they can be validated, when their spatial logic is obvious at the street level, and when the address data are free of dependencies on closed data.
This paper will explore the ways that addresses can be assigned, maintained and address data compiled to contribute to comprehensive public information. Examples of address data in communities across the United States will be used to show how addresses can be assigned and address data maintained to be open. Features of the FGDC Address Standard designed to support the civic functions of addresses will be explored.