Ever wish there was an easier way to access government instead of using traditional, outdated websites and being on hold with city hall for hours?
The County of San Diego has made it easy for residents to access government services with a series of apps to enhance convenience. Some of these apps include:
- Tell Us Now – An app for residents to report non-emergency problems including pricing and scales, air quality, and code compliance.
- SD Emergency – An emergency preparedness app that provides tools to prepare and respond to the unexpected.
- VAPP: The Veterans App – Designed by Veterans for Veterans, this app targets the needs of service members and their families, particularly as it relates to the transition to civilian life.
- Fight The Bite – The goal of this app is to assist the County Vector Control Program in fighting the West Nile virus through the use of anonymous reporting.
- Pay Property Taxes – A mobile site that allows residents to pay taxes at any time, from any location.
- Know your H20 – A self-assessment that allows residents to evaluate knowledge of best practices for improving water quality.
The creation of this suite of apps shows the County’s dedication to user need and experience. Free in both the Apple Store and Google Play, San Diego County makes resources accessible to almost every resident. With nearly 90% of the American population owning cellular devices, connecting with communities through this technology is essential to citizen engagement and utilization of services more frequently and on a long-term basis.
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One way to encourage citizen involvement in the strategic planning process is to provide an interactive platform that encourages feedback in decision-making.
Advancing the Alleghenies is the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission’s (SAPDC) Urban Interactive Studio used to engage the community with an interactive strategic plan. SAPDC is a public/private partnership in Pennsylvania that seeks to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy for the Southern Allegheny region. In 2014, the group launched “Advancing the Alleghenies” to achieve its goal of increasing public outreach and collaboration – engagement key to the strategic planning process and its ultimate success.
Through the “Engaging Plans” platform from Urban Interactive Studio, the partnership was able to have a one-stop shop for project communications, hosting documents, events, news and FAQs, at an undisclosed monthly subscription fee. The platform gives community members a voice and the partnership is able to collect feedback via discussions, surveys, and an idea wall. The Advancing Alleghenies site hosts strategic planning documents for each city in the region for residents to reference, and has interactives maps for users to explore including population change, legislative districts, transportation improvement programs, and census boundaries. The most interaction the site provides includes an “Issues and Opportunities” tab where users are asked for their perspective on opportunities, assets, and issues of the region, and can rank listed items by dragging them to arrange each item in order of importance. The strategic plan on the site hasn’t been updated since the 2014, likely indicative of the SAPDC’s discontinued use of the platform.