Government Technology

Introducing the 21st-Century City Hall



June 25, 2013 By

New platforms are transforming the idea of civic duty and reinventing how citizens engage with government. These tools allow users to interact and share feedback with government entities in creative, convenient ways. Here are five platforms that are helping redefine civic engagement.

Neighborland: A new way to rally residents

If you’ve ever tried drumming up support for a neighborhood project, you know firsthand how difficult the effort can be. From diverse work schedules to just plain indifference, capturing a community’s attention and rallying residents on an issue can seem impossible at times. Neighborland was created to make that task easier.

The online social engagement platform helps citizens and public officials connect on ideas and plans for a community. After creating a profile on Neighborland, users can post questions or ideas using words and pictures. The posts can be categorized by topic, and users can suggest related actions such as fundraisers and meetings.

Users who support an idea can click a “me too” button — similar to “liking” a Facebook post. The information is then presented in an open, transparent way indicating the will of the community, complementing city council hearings and other traditional forms of communication.

Dan Parham, co-founder and CEO of Neighborland, said the platform originated from co-founder Candy Chang’s “I Wish This Was” project. Chang, a New Orleans resident, saw large amounts of vacant storefront properties in the city, so she created stickers that read “I wish this was,” leaving a blank space for people to suggest ideas. The approach was a success, gathering many responses.


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