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Civic Participation Software

Types of civic feedback apps

Web applications that enable citizen participation in government, can be grouped into the following categories.

  • Feedback Aggregation
    Platforms that consolidate citizen feedback from social media, surveys, community forums, and so on. They present aggregated sentiment and opinions to government officials, to help with planning or campaigning.
  • Reporting
    These apps allow citizens to report public infrastructure problems to relevant local authorities. Users can provide specific details, attach photos or videos, and track the progress of their reported issues.
  • Community Engagement
    These apps enable citizens to participate in discussions, polls, or surveys related to local issues. Participants may share their opinion of options proposed by the city, or suggest new options, so that city leaders can provide better quality service.
  • Planning
    Planning apps involve citizens in government project planning, collecting citizen opinions and suggestions about project proposals, so that the government can prevent shortcomings before implementing the project.
  • Deliberation
    Deliberation apps provide a structured way for users to exchange opinions and supporting reasons. The deliberation process is often used to identify priorities or brainstorm solutions, to help government planners create more useful designs.
  • Public Safety
    Public safety apps allow users to report suspected crimes, and receive alerts or guidance about local incidents, to increase the effectiveness of law enforcers.
  • Transportation
    Transportation apps collect citizen feedback to help improve transportation infrastructure and transit services. Users can report problems, request improvements, or participate in surveys about how to prioritize transportation resources.
  • Environment
    These apps allow citizen participation in environmental efforts, and allow both citizens and government to better respond to environmental hazards. Users can discover environment status, report environmental concerns, or track environment remediation projects.
  • Budget
    Budget apps involve citizens in the budget allocation processes of their local governments. They allow users to review spending, and to propose budget priorities which meet their needs.
  • Open Data
    These apps publish government data or public records, enhancing transparency and accountability.
  • Civic Awareness
    These apps aim to raise awareness among citizens about civic rights, responsibilities, and government processes. Civic awareness apps may inform citizens about local elections, voter registration process, or civic events.

Application criteria

Here are attributes to consider when evaluating civic participation apps.

  • Flexible feedback
    Allows participants to express their ideas completely, without excessive restriction.
  • Useful feedback
    Encourages participants to provide feedback that is on topic and actionable.
  • Educational
    Participants are shown information relevant to the question at hand, before being asked questions.
  • Deliberative
    Participants are encouraged to engage in an exchange of reasons before making a final opinion.
  • Ease of use
    Does not confuse participants, uses their time efficiently, and allows them to stop whenever they need to.
  • Accessibility
    Usable by participants with restricted sensory or motor abilities.
  • Locale support
    Usable by participants speaking a variety of languages, in a variety of countries.
  • Privacy
    Does the app risk revealing participants identity or other sensitive information?
  • Security
    Does the app risk exposing private data, or risk unauthorized changes to data?
  • Authentication
    Can the app distinguish intended users from party crashers?
  • Reliability
    The app is almost never broken.
  • Price
    Both initial and ongoing costs.
  • Customer support
    Is anyone available to help you use the app? This may include either paid employees or a user forum.

Applications: Reporting

Applications: Community Engagement Surveys

Applications: Planning

Applications: Deliberation

Applications: Government services

Applications: Forums

Advisory groups