The Philadelphia Project
Citizens in neighborhoods across Philadelphia have demonstrated an interest in getting involved and helping solve the problems facing their communities. However, the common tools to do so are antiquated: flyer-ing, phone trees, and bulletin boards. These channels tend to be information-only rather than two-way or interactive, making collective action difficult to coordinate. Instead citizens are forced to turn to government to solve all problems, where both city and citizen resources are wasted through phone calls, in-person requests, and multiple follow-ups necessary to register complaints or find answers, perpetuating a system of business-hour-only services and analog communications. Not only do problems go unresolved, but those citizens lose their interest in community service.
The organizing tools and process must catch up to the real-time web. Citizens are growing accustomed to immediately accessible information and interactive services‚ not long lines, passive requests, and slow bureaucracies. Philadelphia has partnered with Code for America to implement tools that will enable citizen, city, and community resource-sharing and “citizen-source” problem solving.