The “City Initiated” Trend in Transparency

This past year we have seen a number of interesting trends with our partner cities. The most intriguing, from my point of view, is the rapid adoption of our "City Initiated" functionality released earlier this year. Traditionally our platform has been focused on initiating a transparent communication loop when a citizen submits a new service request to the city. While the citizen created reports are still core to what we do they only tell half the story.

Number of service requests reported on SeeClickFix this year by source

The other half, is represented through service requests created by city employees. We are seeing a rapidly increasing trend of city initiated service requests on SeeClickFix, depicting an unprecedented level of commitment by city administrations to make data more open and accessible.

The percentage of city initiated reports present as black sections of the pie charts

Recently I was chatting with Kam Lasater, our Co-founder and CSO, about the core concepts that built SCF for a proposal I was working on. He explained our approach this way,

Instead of pushing for doors to be opened and data let out of systems after they have been built, we started with the data accessible. Using open data as a starting point coincides with the movement of the web to be open, social and shareable by default.

I think this concisely summarizes what we are trying to achieve. By encouraging city staff to report on the same platform their citizens are using we build an even deeper level of transparency into the process. The fact that SeeClickFix is built with both the city employee and the citizen equally in mind still strikes me as one of our more unique qualities. Both play integral roles in the success of a city, so facilitating an open and accountable communication is only natural.

"Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody"
- Jane Jacobs,
The Death and Life of Great American Cities