Participatory Urbanism

Textizen (Phildelphia)

The new tool, built in Philadelphia and piloted in both Boston and Philly, allows citizens to use text messaging to offer civic feedback for specific city projects and initiatives. The platform for text-message surveys empowers communities to reach residents where they are. Now anyone with an opinion and a minute can join the civic dialogue.

Citizens Connect (Boston)

This application for smart phones helps constituents make their neighborhoods better by giving them an easy tool to report service problems.  Constituents can use the app to quickly submit photos and locations of problems such as graffiti and have that report be automatically routed to the right service department.  Citizens Connect allows residents to follow other problems reported in their area, transforming the experience of reporting an issue to City Hall into an opportunity for community organizing.  Citizens Connect was originally launched in October of 2009.  The current version – Version 3.0 – was launched in September of 2011 and includes twitter and Open 311 integration.  We are in the process of designing version 4.0 and shooting for a 2012 release.

CityHow & NeighborHow (Philadelphia)

Brought to you by Code forAmerica and the City of Philadelphia, CityHow and Neighborhow are projects design to encourage knowledge sharing across communities. NeighborHow is a place to collect and share citizen knowledge about urban improvement projects; CityHow focused on information one thinks would be useful to other people working for the City of Philadelphia.

Social Enterprise Partnership (Philadelphia)

The Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership (PSEP) changes how city government interacts with the private sector by engaging entrepreneurs in framing social challenges and seeking solutions. Philadelpha’s submission to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, the PSEP calls for a new model for urban problem solving with government as an active partner, providing data and feedback throughout the process.

Citizens Connect TXT (Boston)

We are piloting an SMS channel to allow residents to text in neighborhood problems such as graffiti, potholes and broken streetlights.  This text messaging channel works both in Spanish & English.  During the summer of 2012, we’re working a local organization to test and refine this service; we expect to do a final release in the Fall of 2012.

COMMUNITY PLANIT (Boston & Philadelphia)

Developed by the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College,this platform explores how on-line games can complement in-person community meetings to deepen and broaden the engagement with residents in planning processes.  In collaboration with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Office of Accountability in the fall of 2011, it was used to gather community feedback on school performance metrics.  It was used in 2012 & 2013 in Philadelphia forSoChange is a web-based platform that, in its original version, encouraged Boston residents to shop on Main Street districts.  Through this platform, local businesses could create challenges that allowed residents to direct their expenditures at those businesses towards investments that will have community impact.  Those investments,  included summer jobs for youth and the greening of busineses.  SoChange, a local start-up company, tested this platform in Jamaica Plain in 2011.  It is no longer an active project.

Innovation District: Welcome Home Challenge (Boston)

VenCorps, Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations, and the City of Boston teamed up to launch the Innovation District: Welcome Home Challenge, a competition focused on attracting and growing businesses in Boston’s Innovation District.   To encourage participation and collect greater feedback on each submission, the challenge was open for the public to vote or comment using VenCorps’ web-based platform.  Competition was launched in October of 2010 and concluded in March 2011, with My Life List awarded $50,000 in equity investment from VenCorps.