We hear all about social networking sites that spread "fake news" and further the political divide. But some startups are trying to help citizens become more informed, and better able to help their communities and cities. This is super necessary, since voters (such as those in the U.S.) may have trouble being knowledgeable about candidates or understand basic facts about their political system.
Over the past few years, "civic technology" and civic startups have started to gain traction, helping people connect more with their government and each other. Sure, you may have heard of NextDoor, where people connect with neighbors, and SeeClickFix, where city-goers mark problems in their towns. Here are six growing, but still under-the-radar civic startups to check out.
How do we find ways to better connect citizens with their representatives? Involved is a micro-polling platform that supports dialogue, feedback and interactions between representatives and government leaders and their electorate. According to the website, citizens can easily answer a single question and share it with their fellow community members.
There are so many roads--so how do we keep track of all the potholes and bumps? RoadBotics, which was founded at Carnegie Mellon University, uses artificial intelligence and smartphone-enabled road inspection technology to help monitor the condition of roads, streets and highways to make sure they are problem-free.
One of the biggest civic issues right now is drought and water management. PlutoAI seeks to help solve this issue by using a "Deep Learning" analytics platform to monitoring and predicting water supply issues and prevent water wastage in real-time at treatment plants.
Atlanta's Center for Civic Innovation
Organizations are also forming to support local innovation. Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta, Georgia, which supports community-driven entrepreneurship, ideas, and solutions for the Atlanta region--a model that could be replicated in other cities and towns.
A key issue for leaders is finding new ways to gather community feedback and to build and improve trust and a feeling of safety. Elucd is a new app that will be deployed to all cities and used by police departments, city leaders, and other municipal organizations to gather real-time information about satisfaction and trust, and is already helping NYC-based organizations manage strategies and resource to build safety and trust.
Some of our most vulnerable community members are at higher risk when interacting with police officers, clinicians, and other emergency workers. So how can we better ensure everyone's safety? Ride Along is an app that gives just-in-time information about residents and provides tips and data on previous interactions with them.