The city of Memphis, TN, supplies its residents with utility services through Memphis Light Gas And Water, or MLGW. In order to keep Memphis citizens informed of MLGW’s progress during outages and keep an open line of communication, Memphis government utilized a combination of Twitter and the MLGW App. In addition to utilizing Twitter to spread public service announcements, citizens are able to directly interact with MLGW through its smartphone App. Using their service phone number and either the last four digits of their Social Security Number or their Account Number, citizens can view their bills, report outages, and take part in a number of other programs. In addition to gaining information from the organization, users can see a real-time service map populated by their reports providing information on power outages and predictions of service restoration. This allows for direct two-way communication between customers and MLGW, allows for spreading emergency information through alerts, and allows customers to identify immediate service concerns even when the power is out and phone lines are down.
Participatory budgeting is not a new concept, in fact, many cities worldwide have embraced this process in order to create a certain level of civic engagement. Paris, like these other cities, has a formal participatory budgeting website that allows residents to submit projects that are then evaluated by committees. However, they have gone one step further by creating a site that allows for informal idea generation. Launched in 2014, “Lady Mayor, I Have An Idea” promotes civic engagement by giving Paris residents a forum by which they can propose ideas or proposals on a wide variety of topics or campaigns affecting their city. While the ideas are often lacking in details, they provide opportunities for discussion with other Paris residents, council members, experts, etc. It is an example of feedback that eventually leads to interaction when ideas that move forward are discussed in community meetings or co-construction workshops.