Broken glass in the bike lane, a flickering public light fixture or an overflowing waste bin? (Or here in Amsterdam… litter in the canals.) Dislike! Such are the problems of urban living… sigh. But they don’t have to be. Thanks to a new ICT (information communication technology) innovation called PublicStuff, citizens can interact directly with local authorities to get the particular problem fixed. It works as a phone app or on the internet, in 4 easy steps:
- Spot: for example graffiti or potholes
- Submit: request by smartphone or website
- Receive: your request is forwarded to the appropriate department
- Fixed & notify: as soon as the problem is solved, you will be informed
According to a recent article in Fast Company, roughly 200 cities (in the United States) now use the app. And why not: it saves the city time from searching for random problems and citizens can become more engaged in local actions for city improvement. CEO Lily Liu hopes that in the future, PublicStuff will not only focus on urban problems, but also – by engaging in local issues – citizens will be motivated to become more involved in volunteering with/ improving their local community. Now that’s local democracy in action!
As far as I know, they haven’t yet jumped across the Atlantic. Maybe it’s time to spread the word to European, Asian or other global cities?