Gilbert Innovation Peers, Part 1
Some examples of American cities that are leaders in innovative civic engagement and the use of technology are San Diego, CA with 'Get It Done' and New Rochelle, NY with the augmented reality app. More information about the aforementioned cities' innovative programs is outlined below.
San Diego, CA
- In 2016, the city of San Diego, California introduced a mobile app called 'Get It Done' that enables the townspeople to report non-emergency problems to the city of San Diego. The citizen may take a picture of the problem and upload it into the app to automatically update 'Get It Done' the problem report with the location information.
- This city was acknowledged as the first-place winner in the Center for Digital Government's 19th annual Digital Cities Survey in 2019 for utilizing technology to serve citizens faster, more accurately, and more efficiently. The usage of the mobile app will ease the city government to work together with the townspeople to promote the security and quality of life within the community.
- The citizen of San Diego can report various problems, ranging from potholes, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, illegal dumping, illegal encampments, to illegal electric scooters. The City Officials are planning to upgrade the mobile app to enable the residents to report complaints related to parks, such as broken fountains and dogs without leashes, as well as detailed reports.
- Kevin Faulconer, the Mayor of San Diego, initially launched this innovative initiative to eliminate the urge to call the City Council just to report a problem and create an easy solution for the townspeople who wish to issue a complaint regarding the city.
- This initiative targets all residents of San Diego. As the usage of the mobile app is rising, the City Officials prepare a Spanish version of 'Get It Done' for San Diego residents who prefer that language.
- The mobile app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times with 12,500 active users each month. The number of the complaint filed has risen from 45,000 in 2016 to 144,000 in 2017, then to 201,000 in 2018 and 362,000 in 2019, which is equivalent to almost 1,000 per day.
New Rochelle, NY
- In 2018, the officials of New Rochelle, NY introduced an open-source augmented reality app that allows the citizens and visitors of the city to "learn about new and ongoing projects and to participate in the development and approval processes." The citizens are allowed to see presentations about the proposed projects, vote on the proposals, and submit comments.
- This city's initiative was acknowledged as one of the winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge in 2018 for pursuing innovative ideas while enabling the residents to visualize the city projects and participate in choices about planning and development.
- Ralph DiBart, the Executive Director of the New Rochelle Business Improvement District, proposed the idea of creating a public-facing virtual reality app due to the lack of access for citizens to visualize and interact with the city development projects. This app will also allow residents to give their feedback on the project.
- During an event to test out the prototype augmented reality technology at the New Rochelle Grand Market, there were hundreds of people, ranging from young children, elderly, and disabled people, who were excited to interact with the technology. The augmented reality app also allows the users to see the imaginary park in real-time and add a virtual tree, swing set, bench, or other objects by touching the screen. Visitors may also "stroll" around the park and draw hearts on the area of the virtual park they like the most.
- This program targets all residents of New Rochelle, NY, although visitors of the town also may try the augmented reality program.
To collect information about the Gilbert Innovation Peers, we first browsed through media publications and news articles related to the innovative US cities that had won prestigious awards in the past two years, in which we successfully managed to find (1, 2). We carefully selected the cities that involved technology and civic engagement in their initiatives. In addition, although San Diego released the 'Get It Done' app in 2016, the innovative program was granted as the first-place winner of a respectable award in 2019 and the number of people using this app kept rising every year. Therefore, we assumed that San Diego's program was still considered relevant to be added to this list. While the LinkedIn profiles Kevin Faulconer and Ralph DiBart were unavailable, we attached the official website of Faulconer that provided his personal, educational, and career background, and New Rochelle's Local Planning Committee Members website page that showed DiBart's brief profile.