Engaging with technology

Streetlight In the Dutch city of Eindhoven, citizens can now report broken street lights, potholes, graffiti etc. using an app on their iphones. Users can take a picture and locate the problem on GPS and maps and send it directly to the local authority so they can easily locate and solve the problem. Obviously not everyone has an iphone, but it's a great innovation that involves citizens in looking after their community.

The first comment that follows in the above link beat me to it, but it's worth repeating: A similar system exists in the UK, run by the excellent My Society, who also run What Do They Know and They Work For You. It's a website called Fix my Street, and allows users to enter their postcode, locate where a problem is on a map and then give details of what the problem is. They then send this on to the council on your behalf, which means that you don't have to sit on the phone on hold trying to get through to the right department at the council. It saves time and cuts down on bureaucracy. It also exhibits how innovative ideas and technology can link society to government - national or local - at very little cost.

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