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Smart cities
Smart cities

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3.4 Crowdsourcing smarter cities

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Figure 9 The power of crowdsourcing.

Cities all over the world are aspiring to create new sensor networks. But in most cities the ubiquitous smart phone already offers the chance of a ready-made sensor network, and this is often overlooked. Using low-cost applications the smartphone can be used to crowdsource data from citizens.

FixMyStreet [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is a UK-based app and web portal for reporting, viewing or discussing local problems such as potholes and broken street lights.

Street Bump grew out of a project in Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and helps residents improve their neighbourhood streets. Volunteers use the Street Bump mobile app to collect road condition data while they drive. The app aggregates the data across users to provide the city with real-time information to fix short-term problems and plan long-term investments.

PetaJakarta is an open source, community-led platform designed to collect and disseminate information about flooding and critical water infrastructure in Jakarta. It uses information from Twitter to gather, sort and display information about flooding for Jakarta residents in real time.

CityVoice is a Code for America fellowship project designed to get resident feedback on abandoned buildings in South Bend, Indiana. It takes the abandoned building dataset and tags each building with a property call-in number. Residents then call the number and leave a voicemail commenting on how they feel about the property. Because the input is done by phone, residents who are not comfortable with the internet can still leave feedback.

Perhaps there are apps or platforms that crowdsource citizen data to address problems in your city?