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Bringing SeeClickFix to D.C.: Join Us!

SeeClickFix in New Haven, where it is heavily used.

TheCityFix DC talks a lot about how we’d like to see D.C. change. We’re also committed to making sure that your voices get heard. That (and the similar names!) is why we’ve teamed up with SeeClickFix to try and spread their tool to D.C. As I’ve written about before, it’s a great platform for bringing civic engagement into the public sphere.

Over the last two weeks, TheCityFix DC contacted all the ANC commissioners in the District, asking them if they’d like to work with us to get SeeClickFix off the ground in their neighborhoods. Four have agreed so far: David Tumblin (4C06), Sylvia Brown (7C04), Darrell Gaston (8B03) and William Ellis (8C01). Each has created a watch area around their single member district, so whenever someone posts on SeeClickFix within those lines, they’ll hear about it. They should be applauded for their willingness to use new media to bring new and improved means for civic engagement to their districts.

If this spreads, it could be great. In New Haven, where I go to school and where SeeClickFix was founded, it is a major method of communication with the city. Everyone from the parks department to Yale University uses it to see what they need to be working on. If you too would like to see that happen in D.C., contact your ANC member, your Councilmember, your favorite District official, or whomever and have them set up a watch area too. With a critical mass, this can really go somewhere.

After the jump, I’ve reproduced the FAQ/press release I’ve given these ANC members below, so you can use it on your own.

Councilmember ______ is now using SeeClickFix, a new online tool, to hear from his/her neighbors and constituents with the goal of making it easier than ever to have a neighborhood discussion about ways to improve our city. This is part of a pilot project organized by TheCityFix DC, a blog about regional sustainable transport news, analysis, advocacy and “best practice” solutions.

What is SeeClickFix?

SeeClickFix is a new online tool for citizens to report ways to improve our neighborhoods. It’s a three-step process.

First, the See part of SeeClickFix. You notice something about your area that you’d like to be different. It could be a pothole that needs filling, a street that needs a bus route or a bike lane, a liquor store that needs closing—anything that you’d like changed, big or small.

Second, Click. Go online to www.seeclickfix.com. That’ll pull up a map. Type in the address you’d like to comment on or just click on the map. That will bring up a little bubble where you just type in your comment. That’s all you have to do!

Finally, Fix. Because this is a public Web site, your comment will show up as a little bubble on the map. Anyone who wants can click on it and read what needs fixing. More importantly, however, elected officials have created “watch areas.” That means that they get notified whenever someone posts a comment in a certain neighborhood. Councilmember ______ is now notified whenever anyone wants something fixed in his/her district and can get to work making that change happen. As more and more ANC members, District Councilmembers, and District officials start using SeeClickFix to hear from residents, it will become an even more powerful tool.

Why use SeeClickFix?

Everyone knows it’s important to be civically engaged. The question is, if you want something done, why use SeeClickFix? Why not just e-mail, write a letter or make a phone call?

First, SeeClickFix is really easy to use. It takes no more than a minute, start to finish.

More important, though, is that you know that your feedback won’t disappear down a black hole. It’s right there for everyone to see. Not only will Councilmember _______ know what you think, the next time your neighbor goes on SeeClickFix, she’ll also see your comment. If she feels the same way, she might comment, too! By making comments available for everyone to see, SeeClickFix starts a conversation in the neighborhood that everyone can participate in. Our voices are stronger together.

What is TheCityFix?

TheCityFix.com is a go-to site for sustainable transport news, advocacy and “best practice” solutions from around the world. It boasts a global network of writers and transport specialists, including engineers, entrepreneurs, urban planners and researchers, who explore environmentally and socially responsible ways to make cities better places to live.

Our blog is produced by EMBARQ – The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that works with cities to catalyze and help implement sustainable solutions to problems of urban mobility. The EMBARQ Network includes five Centers for Sustainable Transport, located in Mexico, Brazil, India, Turkey and the Andean Region, that work together with local transport authorities to reduce pollution, improve public health, and create safe, accessible and attractive urban public spaces.  We rely on this international community and other volunteers to provide a global, multi-disciplinary perspective to our coverage of sustainable urban transport.

This summer, we launched our first local site, TheCityFix DC. In addition to providing community-oriented news and commentary, we wanted to give our readers a way to engage with local officials to resolve problems in their own neighborhood.

That’s why we teamed up with SeeClickFix and Councilmember ________.

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