Monday, July 6, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments

Civic Values, Community, Equality, Democracy

Recently I've been paying closer attention to the way block groups organize and communicate. In New Haven we tend to have email lists that have one central point of distribution. In Philadelphia the Philly blocks group has a list-serv which any member can email to. Many of the topics on these lists are issues that should be reported on SeeClickFix and many of the resulting discussions would be valuable to those accountable for these neighborhoods and other members of the public who might not be on the list.

With these community groups in mind SeeClickFix has added a new feature that allows clickers to follow their community groups watch area. What this means is that when a user reports a Clicket everyone in their neighborhood can receive an alert. You report a street light out. 100 of your neighbors are notified and can verify and support the reolution of your issue by commenting ir clicking I want this fixed too.
Someone loses a dog and the issue can be posted instantly with a photo, emails go out to your neighbors, and if your local newspaper has the SeeClickFix widget or rss it might show up there as well.

As an aside I found this quote that is very much in the spirit of SeeClickFix on one of the lists from Ed Schwartz who founded Philly Blocks
It is here, moreover, where the political philosophy of the Institute
for the Study of Civic Values shapes the issues that we
advance here--and will continue to do so in the future.

I started the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in 1974--35
years ago--to build a citizen politics around the principles of the
American democratic tradition.

There are four core principles involved here:

Civic Values--as set forth explicitly in the Declaration of
Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights;

Community-Which binds us together where we live and work as citizens who share these civic ideals;

Equality--Which affirms that each of us makes a contribution to the
community and should be valued for the contribution that we make; and

Democracy--We all need to participate in shaping the decisions that
affect our lives.

I will be reaching out to Philly Blocks to see if SeeClickFix Community watch areas would be a valuable tool for them. After all in Philly the government responds to Clickets and the Inquirer sheds light on them by publishing them on phillyreports.


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