Live + Gov

Urban Maintenance

In the urban maintenance case, citizens will report issues and enter ideas about  improving the urban space through  a  mobile  system.  By  using  a  smartphone, reporting  is  made  easy  and  context-parameters  can  be automatically  used  making  the  issue  report  very  ‘rich’.  Using  existing  information  about  the  desired  and required  state  of  the  urban  space,  this  will  help  the  citizen  to  make  better  judgements  about  issues.  Also, social  networks  can  be  used  to  increase  commitment  and  to  involvement  of  citizen  in  the  maintenance  of their environment.

The use case is setup in The Netherlands, using the existing buitenbeter community. Specific trials will be performed in designated areas, for example cities like Eindhoven or Tilburg, which are already very actively supporting and promoting buitenbeter. This way, by directly involving (local) governments, real life policies can be used to test these in the Live+Gov project.

In the urban maintenance case, one of the large challenges is to achieve active involvement of the citizens, which  goes  beyond  just  reporting  a  direct  annoyance.  This  will  be  achieved  by  designing  game-like  trials with ‘rewards’ that stimulate the users to keep on using the system. By using real life trials, with participating cities, citizens will also receive rewards in the form of actual improvement of their urban space, which is of course the ultimate reward for taking the effort of reporting. Another challenge is to bridge the gap between the terminologies that citizens use and that of formal governance policies. This is where the policy modeling meets the urban maintenance use case.

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For the citizen, the benefit is twofold: on one hand it means being able to report issues with regards to urban maintenance very easily and in a way that is close to the experience of the user, on the other hand it means the citizen can directly interact with policies and can influence these. For the government, the main benefit is the direct interaction with its citizens, resulting in more committed and  involved  citizen.  This  can  also  result  in  a  cost-reduction  for  governments,  because  traditional communication  channels  are  often  more  costly  and  less  effective  and  because  having  citizens  involved means having a lot of ‘ears and eyes’ outside that give input, needing less governmental officials to do this work.

 

Scenarios

 

  • A citizen walks in a park and is annoyed by the lack of maintenance of the grass (it’s too high to play a game of soccer). Based on the location of the user, the required/desired quality of maintenance (in this case, height of the grass) will be pushed to the user, in the form of some sample pictures. The citizen can now judge if indeed, on this particular spot, there is a lack of maintenance and reports this by making a picture with his smartphone.

 

  • On a busy traffic spot, the lack of level crossing is reported by several citizens using their mobile phone. When  reporting,  they  indicate  that  it  is  important  for  them  by  rating  the  issue.  Using  the  integration  with mobile  social-networks,  the  user  can  alert  her  friends  and  asking  them  to  report  the  same  wish.  As  a consequence, a lot of reports will reach the government, which will use this as direct input for their policy about traffic in general and level crossings in specific.

 

Using gaming, a school class goes out to check their neighbourhood. All students have smartphones to report what they think is not ok. Each student has a limited amount of credits to spend and can choose on which issue these can be spend. This way, the policy-making is simulated in an easy and attractive way to students, at the same time giving relevant and valuable input for real policy-makers.

 
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