Yesterday, Mayor Nutter announced the launch of a new interactive website called Change By Us: Philadelphia. Promoting public engagement by local Philadelphians, Change By Us has taken social media, in the civic sense, to a whole new level.
According to the blog Code for America, Change By Us: Philadelphia launched with a focus on making the city “smarter, safer, and greener.” It acts as an alternative social media platform where local Philly dwellers are able to collaborate on new ideas for new initiatives.
Serving as a virtual suggestion box, input from local Philadelphians is not only shared with Mayor Nutter. In addition to being available for public view, the comments and suggestions are also delivered (according to the site) to Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr and Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis among others.
Contributors submit their ideas through a virtual bulletin board decorated with colorful post-its that house the voices of locals and all of their concerns.
Many of the posts voice concerns about further eliminating Philly’s carbon footprint, making the city more handicap accessible, and (now this one’s shocking!) limiting the amount of police activity around Occupy Philly. Fair enough, but I’m more concerned with the real issues like liquor stores that stay open past 9pm on weekends, an alternative to the god forsaken I-76 (I know, wishful thinking), OR better gun control laws so I can stop reading about Philadelphia patting itself on the back for “reduced-crime weeks.” Now those are some attention-grabbing post-its.
Change By Us currently serves as a platform that is available for any city to use under a free open source license. Philadelphia is the second city to launch a site like this, following in New York’s footsteps. But let’s be honest, we probably don’t have nearly as many problems as they do.