Noel Hidalgo (@noneck), the Executive Director of betaNYC (@betaNYC), was on the P2P foundation podcast discussing civic technology past and present in New York City.
During the conversation, Hidalgo brought up SeeClickFix's role in the 311 movement. Below is a transcript of this section:
Noel Hidalgo: Things have advanced so much that activists no longer need to build tools like FixMyStreet. There are systems like SeeClickFix, which are for small to medium-sized cities, and then larger cities have tools (they produce their own 311 software).
James Burke: What's happened then exactly? Where are we now? How does it work?
Hidalgo: For this 311 software, you can download an app that the city maintains, you can go to a website, or you can call up a telephone number to report a pothole. There's no interactivity. You can't comment on it at the higher level. But at least at a lower level you can report on these different issues.
Burke: So the software is maintained by the city itself? Municipal software as opposed to using some outside service?
Hidalgo: Right, at least at a higher level. But there's some cities that have bought participatory issue-base software like SeeClickFix that enables you, just like Fixmystreet, to plot a point, the city's listening, and then your neighbors can comment on that. So that if they see the same pothole, it's not two service requests on there. Which is how NYC does it: if 3 people complain about the same pothole, that is 3 service requests. And then they have to do some backend processes. Versus SeeClickFix, you get one service request and 3 people commenting: "Yes, that's my pothole".
Burke: So SeeClickFix is a superior service?
Hidalgo: I don't want to say what's superior over another, but I will say it's a tool that builds engagement, civic engagement around issues vs. 311 which just provides for civic engagement with the government.
Here's the full interview with Hidalgo below: