Monday, March 15, 2010

SeeClickFix -- Citizens Communicating to Cities

Listening to a huge backlog of podcasts, I found myself zoning out given many of the reports no longer felt timely. My ears perked up, however, as NPR's Melissa Block introduced a story about citizens using technology to communicate concerns to the city.

I'm now "watching Pomona" using a very cool service titled seeclickfix. It is available as a website and a smart phone ap. And, you can follow the service using the various social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook.

Here's how it works...

1. Residents post concerns--and photographs, when available--about the city to the site. The more specific the better, in my humble opinion. For example, we can report a big ol' pothole at a particular intersection, an out-of-commission street light in a given park, an ugly banner hanging out of a window at a specific address.

2. Other residents "vote" to indicate they, too, are concerned about the issue and would like the issue fixed. If you would like to lend your voice to the process by endorsing items for fixing of leaving comments, consider setting up an account (though it looks like you can also just enter an e-mail address -- I'm guessing the address wouldn't get displayed, but I'm not sure, hence the recommendation for an account). It looks like it is also possible to text in your vote. Ingenious.

3. Everyone keeps an eye out for the municipality to fix the concern. Once the issue is resolved (e.g., a pot hole gets filled in), users can indicate that the concern has been fixed.

4. And -- this is very cool -- once you submit an issue, the site will automatically generate a flier you can print out with the details of your concern. Talk about making things easy!

According to the NPR story, this tool has really taken off like wild fire in some areas. I'll be curious to see how well it works here in Pomona.

I'm trying to figure out how to add a tool to this blog that will allow us even easier access to voting and reporting on issues. The seeclickfix website generated the script, but I'm not sure how to get the widget to appear as a stable feature of the page (it appears below as an element within this post). Any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. It looks like the City of Pomona Public Works is watching activity on the site. This is great news, as it means the city will see our concerns. Let's start posting!