Mobile Apps for Civic Engagement

Paul M. Davis shares Five Mobile Apps for Civic Engagement at the Shareable Science & Tech blog:

The immediacy of the mobile web and the molasses-slow pace of government bureaucracy may seem to be at odds, but not to government 2.0 thinkers, civic planners and developers. While city, state and federal governments have a lot of work to do streamlining their systems and processes, pilot programs to use mobile apps and software platforms are already bearing fruit.

Included on his list are some projects we’ve highlighted before (SeeClickFix and CitySource) along with others that may not be familiar (Alternative Fuel Locator; FCC Mobile Broadband Test and EcoFinder). Notice that each of these applications serves primarily as an information source – a way to find the service you need. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can’t help thinking that these types of apps, while doubtlessly helpful, aren’t quite reaching the root of civic engagement – it may be an improvement in customer service, but it’s still looking at residents primarily as customers rather than participants in local government.

One Response to Mobile Apps for Civic Engagement

  1. Franklin Straphe

    Agreed. While these apps bring some value to some people, I don’t see how they get people more involved in their local communities. I’m looking for tools that encourage people to get face-to-face with those around them… neighbors, shopkeepers, etc… and work on getting to know each other and addressing local issues.


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