Philadelphia residents are logging into Connecticut-based technology to report non-emergency neighborhood issues.
Last week, a representative of New Haven-based SeeClickFix travelled to Philadelphia to discuss the civic issue tracking tool with the Society Hill Civic Association, one of the newest adopters of the Web-based technology. [Full Disclosure: Technically Philly was introduced to SeeClickFix founder Ben Berkowitz at a journalism conference in New York]
With SeeClick, users can create watch areas, report concerns – like potholes, barking dogs, idling vehicles and other annoyances – and hopefully create buzz around problems in neighborhoods, so it’s easier to lobby to get these problems fixed. The takeaway? SeeClickFix is a platform for anyone in a neighborhood to track problems, not just government officials.
Nuisances can be submitted to the site using a variety of mediums, including a browser, Twitter, phone, email and iPhone application. Residents can receive updates on problems occurring in neighborhoods by way of RSS, email, and more.
Mark Abraham, editor of Design New Haven, a civic forum for urban affairs and design in New Haven, Connecticut, uses the technology for his own publication, and shared with about 70 local residents at a Society Hill Civic Association meeting last Wednesday just how the technology works.
“[There was] a diverse age range, people uncomfortable using Internet technologies, but interested in how they can use technology in communities to bring people together,” Abraham said in an interview with Technically Philly Thursday.
In Philadelphia, several organizations are already taking advantage of SeeClickFix’s technology, including the Clean Air Council’s IdleFreePhilly iniatitive, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and Philadelphia 311, though it is not now known whether or not the latter is officially mandated by the Mayor’s Office. A greater list is available with the service’s Philadelphia portal.
While our first intuition is to shy away from covering technology businesses based outside of the city, it’s certainly interesting to see how a platform like SeeClickFix can help bring our communities together without being a direct part of those communities.
If not, maybe this could be a call to action for local developers to design their own platform.
See a video of Mark’s presentation below.