Silicon Valley is the global center for innovation, and the City of Palo Alto is right at its center. Our big launch day coincided with Palo Alto’s CityCamp event, a day devoted to hackathons, insightful TED style talks, and a mini Maker Faire for kids of all ages. With 5,000+ people in attendance, this was perhaps the largest event in the country centered around the National Day of Civic Hacking.
Photo by @tumml_org on Instagram.
Our Founder and CEO, Lily Liu, participated in the “Resilience” hacking session, which was one of four “idea hacking” sessions offered that day. The sessions were designed to bring together developers and non-developers to dream up civic ideas that augment the connectedness between residents and their city. To this end, we launched our own Ideas Gallery to coincide with this event.
Our first Civic Idea of the day!
Our friends at the City of Palo Alto manned our Download Day booth, bringing awareness to the new PublicStuff for Palo Alto 311 app. The service requests are rolling in, and the downloads are climbing. Palo Alto gave us an unforgettable welcome. We can’t wait to #GetStuffFixed in Palo Alto!
Stickers and flyers ready for the residents of Palo Alto.
Here are some more photo highlights from the day.
Scott Parenteau’s “Walking Pod” Photo by @thejosephinechan on Instagram.
Ready and waiting to #GetStuffFixed in Palo Alto! Photo by @mleconge on Instagram.
Just a few friends on their way to CityCamp. Photo by @thejosephinechan on Instagram.
Future civic developers at the Design Thinking Workshop. Photo by @chlang6 on Instagram.
Residents had a chance to get up close and personal with a Google Street View car. Photo by @tiffanylingho on Instagram
Amongst the robots, a pencil emerges. Photo by @bethlubov on Instagram.
We made it easy for developers to help improve their community through our Civic Developers Program. Now, we’re calling on all of the big thinkers out there to get involved in our latest addition to the program, the Ideas Gallery. Your ideas can make your community a better place.
To this end, we’re soliciting ideas and suggestions from you and putting them in front of developers with an itch to do good. We call the applications that result from this exchange a ‘Widget’. Within each PublicStuff city page and smartphone app lives a “Widget.” These could be anything from a transit schedule to a list of who’s who in local government.
This is where you come in. To meet the needs of cities and communities nationwide, we’re looking for the next great Widget Idea. Submitting ideas is simple, just tweet it to @PublicStuff using the hashtag #CivicIdeas and it will get seen by our community of civic hackers. Consider this a call for civic innovation!
The first half of 2013 has been busy with a broad array of cities and towns launching PublicStuff in their communities. Each city is solving its own unique issues by incorporating PublicStuff into the city’s services.
In cities such as Woodstock, GA, Aurora, CO, and Tallahassee, FL, PublicStuff brings a new level of connectivity for citizens. Whether reporting an issue such as broken streetlights, dangerous conditions, or just asking a question of city staff, citizens are assured that their request is being seen and taken care of by the proper staff.
In the city of Aurora, CO, the Access Aurora call center is using PublicStuff to make sure that every phone call is logged and followed up. PublicStuff’s API allows these requests to be entered automatically into the City of Aurora’s Amanda system where they are then routed to the correct department and city staff member. Changes to the request are then sent back to PublicStuff. By using PublicStuff Pro to record requests, the city is ensuring that citizens are also kept in the loop.
For Tallahassee the DigiTally app, powered by PublicStuff, has been launched with great acclaim. The city hosted an online press event and presented the app to the local Chamber of Commerce to build interest in the app. On the day of the launch, citizens downloaded the app over 400 times! DigiTally also makes excellent use of the PublicStuff widget system, linking residents to an Online Kennel, an interactive parks and recreation directory, and trash pickup day finder.
Pensacola, FL expanded its successful 311 service to mobile submissions and an improved web submission experience. Behind the scenes, PublicStuff integrated with the city’s existing Lucity service. The soft launch phase will soon come to an end will be sure to make a big splash with a public launch.
Also launched in April in Florida, the OC Cares service from Orange City, FL. Since its launch, there have been potholes repaired and numerous code violations reported. City staff are thoughtful, responsive and thorough in responding back to residents; take this example of an overgrown sidewalk in the city.
The concern of residents in Asheville, NC relating to pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic safety are evident in the requests made since the March launch of The Asheville App.
Small towns such as Woodstock, GA do not have existing internal systems to track requests. Partnered with PublicStuff, the City of Woodstock was able to launch an app, share information with citizens, track requests internally and with PublicStuff’s marketing materials, easily get the word out to citizens.
Residents of the 2013 All-America City finalist Garner, NC use the garner info service to report issues about town and linking to city resources such as the Events Calendar, Parks and Recreation, and media information. We hope 2012 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery has his hometown app downloaded to keep up while he’s on the road!
We look forward to launching other new cities in the coming weeks, including the City of Palo Alto, CA, who will pair the launch of PaloAlto311 with CityCamp Palo Alto on the National Day of Civic Hacking June 1, and the City of Dayton, OH who has integrated PublicStuff with their incumbent systems.
Each of our clients has been able to remove communication barriers between citizens and city hall, by giving them access to information and the ability to communicate issues with city staff seamlessly via their smart phone or online at the city’s website.
We’re changing the way residents interact with their local government, as part of this effort we are pleased to announce our new Civic Developer Program. This new program aims to nurture the growing civic hacking space by providing a platform for developers to easily obtain relevant open data sets, and publish widgets using the PublicStuff API. By uniting local government, residents, and developers we want to build the best possible system for civic engagement.
The Civic Developer program is a full service idea engine, uniting developers and non-developers. To meet the specific needs of cities and communities nationwide, residents will be encouraged to submit their ideas for widgets by submitting service requests and gaining supporters. The ideas with the most supporters will become developer challenges. By participating in the program, developers will have the opportunity to see their widgets adopted by major metropolitan areas.
Earth Day is almost here, a time for communities to come together and ensure that their communities are enjoyable for generations to come. To celebrate Earth Day and the people who participate, PublicStuff is hosting the #MyEarthDay contest. Entering is easy, here’s how:
- Download the PublicStuff app (available on iPhone, Android, and even Blackberry)
- Snap a photo of yourself participating in an Earth Day event or activity
- Create a request using the service type “#MyEarthDay“
- Add a photo of yourself participating in an Earth Day even or activity to the request
- SHARE your request, the winner will be determine by which #MyEarthDay request has the most supporters! Support an issue on PublicStuff by clicking the “Support” button on the request.
- WIN an eco gift pack from PublicStuff worth $200! The prize package includes a SunVolt Portable Power Station, aquaponics garden, and gear from PublicStuff.
Here’s an example of what the “Support” button looks like and an example request:
The winner of the #MyEarthDay contest will be determined by who has the most supporters, so share it with your friends and family. The contest ends on Monday, April 29th at noon. The winning #MyEarthDay request will receive a PublicStuff Eco Gift Pack valued at $200! What are you waiting for? Share your #MyEarthDay story today!
Find an Earth Day event near you, and celebrate #MyEarthDay!
The City of Plano, Texas has recently debuted an inventive use for their PublicStuff powered Fix It Plano app, tracking the spread of West Nile Virus. Plano is calling upon their residents to help monitor the spread of the virus by using the Fix It Plano mobile app or website. Residents who spot a dead bird can snap a photo with a smartphone and report it along with the location using PublicStuff. The city will use the reports to monitor and track the spread of the virus. Involving residents in these tracking efforts also lends assistance in educating residents about this issue, helping them to stay safe by staying informed.
NBC 5 Dallas reports that not only will tracking begin today, but that the data collected will be put to use as early as next week when the city begins their mosquito controlling efforts. Plano already has a maintained a lower infection rate for West Nile Virus than neighboring cities, and will continue to lower the spread by hosting an awareness seminar for residents. The FixIt Plano app will be a key piece of the equation protecting residents from the spread of West Nile by identifying problem areas early in mosquito season.
PublicStuff receives thousands of requests every day. We go to great lengths to ensure that every service request that is received has a positive outcome, no matter what the nature of the request is. Sometimes requests are received that require special attention. Here at PublicStuff, we understand that not every service issue can reach resolution with a simple repair or fresh coat of paint.
Introducing #ParanormalStuff, the solution for all of life’s mysterious service issues. Simply use PublicStuff to report the issue and we will route it to your city’s paraprofessionals who will respond immediately. Never fall victim to Sasquatch rummaging through your garbage again, allow your city’s paraprofessionals to take action and #GetStuffFixed.
#ParanormalStuff is your city’s solution to life’s intangible service issues.
Open Data Day 2013 is here, and the civic-minded are gathering world wide. Hackathons, brainstorming and educational sessions will be happening throughout today. The end result of the next 24 hours will be new apps, initiatives, and citizens ready with a new mission. Open data is helping to drive innovation and bring creative and cost effective solutions to local governments.
Open Data Day is exciting to us here at PublicStuff as it brings together two of our favorite things, civic engagement and government innovation. Today represents a shift that is occurring, governments are innovating technology and pushing it forward at an incredible rate. By allowing data be opened up to citizens democracy is entering a new phase. The voice of citizens can be heard through apps, infographics, and the application of ideas. To all who are participating, we can’t wait to see your ideas!
City maintenance workers can’t be every place at once, so a Catalyst works to make up for lost ground. The Catalyst loves their city and takes pride in helping to keep it maintained. The Catalyst program is on the cusp of expanding into an exciting new program to help invigorate civic engagement in cities all over the country. As we here at PublicStuff work on building the program out, we recognize our current Catalysts by highlighting them in our Citizen Newsletter in addition to the PublicStuff blog.
Stay tuned for more Catalyst program updates, and email our Community Manager if you would like further information!