Community Reporting: The Future of City Service Logistics

A recent article in Fast Company told of a person in New Haven who wanted to get graffiti cleaned up on his street. After countless calls to the city with no response he decided to take action. He built a website called SeeClickFix.com that allows citizens of the city to report issues they see in their community. Such things as graffiti and pot holes were reported, photographed, plotted on a map and published for all to see. As more reports were made, city officials took notice and responded. His graffiti problem was taken care of quickly. The site now is active in multiple cities in the US and has had over 61,000 issues reported.

So why does this work?

1. The people in the community see issues on their own streets that may not get surveyed by city workers often enough. The on-the-ground front-line local-level reporting is key to a city’s involvement.

2. Posting the issues online make city officials react because everything is now transparent. Its not just a street that knows about the pothole, its anyone who visits the site.

3. An ‘issue solved’ area shows the citizens that the city is taking care of issues.

Now to bring this home. This template could be used in any city as long as city officials recognize it as important and relevant. The advance of smart phones allows for possible instant reporting as phones can take photos, log GPS locations and send report instantly.

I see this as a great way to let the city know what issues you see in a neighborhood that they may not see or take note of.

Can this work in London (my city), or your own? Does it already exist in yours? London has a few people on the SeeClickFix website, but can a more local-based site work better?

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