April 12, 2010

Crowdsourcing Can Help Citizens and Government Alike

YEARS AGO there was a website that allowed citizens to log on and find out exactly "who" in local government was responsible for a specific municipal problem whether it was a pothole, a health care issue or a neighborhood graffiti problem. Maintaining the database of the "public sector" staff responsible for fixing problems was a huge effort and I doubt that the site still exists especially since I did a domain name search and the name "govguide.org" came up as being for sale.

Another good idea bites the dust.

But there is still good news for citizens wanting to report neighborhood problems to city government. I have just run across a site that makes problem reporting much easier than govguide ever imagined.

SeeClickFix "believes that the citizens may have as much to offer local government as the government may have to offer to people. By letting the man (literally) on the street report issues a local city or city department, and making them trackable, it shifts some of the management burden to the people most affected by them."

I checked out the site and typed in my town - Redwood City. I found out that there were three issues identified by citizens. Two were pothole problems and one was a low light, speeding issue. Turns out that all of those items are still "open" despite one of the problems having been reported a year ago.

Visit SeeClickFix. It's pretty cool.

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