SeeClickFix, a powerful digital tool for the collective management of cities | Social Toolbox

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seeclickfix

Website: www.seeclickfix.com
Type: Application | platform
Issues: Street conditions | Accessibility | Quality of life


SeeClickFix follows a similar concept to that of the recently featured FixMyStreet and ReparaCiudad, but on steroids! It is a highly integrated digital platform which focuses on issues of quality-of-life, from simple problems regarding street and environmental conditions to more complex issues about the health of citizens and communities.

Community groups are thought as an integral part of the SeeClickFix ecosystem. The process of civic improvement that begins with the citizens is supposed to continue through the work of local organizations. Neighborhood associations, business improvement districts, and volunteer groups are already using SeeClickFix to take up the citizens’ causes and amplify their voices.

SeeClickFix provides an open online platform that can be scaled to help citizens to address the needs of their causes and communities. By helping community leaders find and connect with others who care, the aim of SeeClickFix is to make the critical mass for a community movement.

SeeClickFix - Map view

SeeClickFix – Map view

The basic principles of this project are:

Empowerment. SeeClickFix allows anyone to report and track non-emergency issues anywhere in the world via the internet. This empowers citizens, community groups, media organizations and governments to take care of and improve their neighborhoods.

Efficiency. Two heads are better than one and 300 heads are better than two. In computer terminology, distributed sensing is particularly powerful at recognizing patterns, such as those that gradually take shape on a street. Besides, the government can’t be in all places at all times. We make it easy and fun for everyone to see, click and fix.

Engagement. Citizens who take the time to report even minor issues and see them fixed are likely to get more engaged in their local communities. It’s called a self-reinforcing loop. This also makes people happy and everyone benefits from that.

 

SeeClickFix - Issues in a neighborhood

SeeClickFix – Issues in a neighborhood

How Does SeeClickFix work?

SeeClickFix platform’s scope includes all the cities in U.S. that got involved in the project. Every citizen can sign up in the SeeClickFix platform of his/her town or neighbourhood and can file a public report online or via mobile phone about a non-emergency issue.

  • Citizens vote on neighborhood issues, or promote more efficient community governance by instantly forwarding them to a person who might be able to help.
  • Citizens report issues on the go, and set up watch areas to monitor their block (aka “eyes on the street”).
  • Neighborhood groups, elected officials and advocates monitor key issues, and publicly propose solutions on how to resolve them.
  • Governments and other entities responsible for the public space (such as utilities and property owners) become more accountable to the public by acknowledging problems and providing effective communication about solutions.
  • Media outlets use SeeClickFix to build upon citizen-driven news content and attract readership. SeeClickFix gives media outlets a window into the public debate; it provides journalists with real time, hyperlocal data. Journalists stay up-to-date with community concerns by creating public watch areas and receiving email notifications about their reader’s issues.
SeeClickFix - Android app

SeeClickFix – Android app

The application features an impressive set of mobile versions; all the major platforms are supported with platform-specific native apps:

iPhone App Store Android Market Windows Phone BlackBerry Download

SeeClickFix provides local governments with different tools for the implementation and development of the platform: Streamlined Workflow Management, Dashboard Analytics, Customized Emails, Dynamic Reporting Forms, Mobile Workforce, Data Export.

Another tool is SeeClickFix Connect, which expands upon the services offered with Plus CRM through complete integration with your existing web-enabled work order system. SeeClickFix provides a flexible configuration tool for talking to ANY API and supports all standard API protocols. This is how the system allows different integrations like this one with GIS-based urban management system Cityworks, in order to connect citizens directly with city workers.

And as usual in this series of posts, here is the graphic summary of the project, combining applications, projects, actors and some specific conditions.

What is so good about this project? What could be improved?

This is one of the most well-developed and integrated services of this kind that we have found so far.  The range of applications and services provided is wide enough for us to imagine this tool adapted to almost any urban area we can think of… provided there is real political will in the city council and enough engagement in the local community.

Unlike FixMyStreet, this software is not open source so adaptation, integration and hosting are all to be made by/with the start-up behind this app. We would love to see this app getting open sourced,  self-hosted by municipalities or organizations, or even re-branded —would it really work with that name in Spain? Anyway,  we are sure the people at SeeClickFix will be glad to help anyone to implement the application anywhere. With the integration solutions they provide this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Counting on hyperlocal features like the ability to ‘watch’ areas around your place, SeeClickFix makes a point over similar applications by explicitly working on a smaller, closer-to-human scale —at neughborhood level— and engaging the very local community rather than leaving issues and feedback drift on the more abstract level of a whole city. 

In the case of New Haven, where the company is located, this has proven to be a very powerful approach over the years. It will most likely take a huge effort to tightly connect SeeClickFix with the local channels, departments and organizations, but once that is achieved, the platform provides a combination of issue tracking and a social interaction that can work as a real kickstarter for local citizen engagement.

This posts is part of the Social Toolbox series about digital social tools, meaning digital platforms, software, and online projects developed for the improvement of cities and neighbourhoods through direct participation of their citizens.

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