Fun apps to enable people help their community

We all want people to be active citizens. There are already many people in our communities who volunteer and help their neighbours. A huge group of people who are able to help, however, are usually too busy, not interested, not incentivised or not enabled to help their communities.

In the US, an app was created that enables people to take responsibility for clearing fire hydrants of snow (thus keeping it usable and saving the city doing it) and in return they get to name it. They are on a map so there’s an element of competition. Another example is where citizens have been allowed to view the requests of others in their community and maybe help each other.

My idea for Bristol is about taking these concepts (as demonstrated in the US), broaden them and add incentives. Maybe allow people to earn some ‘social reward points’? Existing structures could be used to promote / channel this. The Virtual Youth Service? Neighbourhood Partnerships? Schools?

By adding an element of fun to helping – making it more of a game – we help people already active and maybe encourage others to contribute; particularly young people and young adults.

Why the contribution is important

By using technology to add an element of fun and reward to helping our communities we can:

  • Make it more fun for people already active in their communities and give them new tools to encourage others.
  • Engage others who do not typically engage with their communities. Particularly encouraging young people to take interest in and help them to identify themselves with their community, whilst taking more responsibility for it.

This would lead to:

  • A reduction in demand on public services at a time of reducing resources (which could be roughly measured by a reduction in calls / service requests to the Council).
  • Strengthened communities and neighbourly ties - communities that care for each other (indirectly measured in how many ‘reward’ points are accumulated? Or survey results?).
  • More engaged young peoplein civic life.
  • Helping to achieve an element of the Mayor's vision for more active citizens and connected communities.

by luke on December 01, 2013 at 12:27PM

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