Friday, July 17, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 1 comment
Rob Stuart from Evolve strategies was kind enough to host me in Philadelphia yesterday for a whirlwind intro and re-intro to some of Philadelphia's most active.
My day started with a bike ride down Upper State Street in New Haven to a 5:00 Am for a Metro North 5:40 to NYC. A nice walk from GC to Penn Station followed and at 10:30 I took the Bolt Bus to Philly. (Bolt bus is awesome! They arrive on time, the seats are roomy and leather, there is wi-fi, it costs 12 bucks to Philly, there is outlets in every seat and it only takes two hours...we need a New Haven Stop) Rob picked me up with bicycle in tow and we were off to our first meeting. (Philly by bike is great and Rob isn't scared to ride fast.)
Our first meeting was with Pew Charitable Trusts to discuss the journalistic aspects of SeeClickFix and how the raw data of citizen concerns and their stories have led to some interesting local news coverage.
Meeting two was at Philadelphia City Hall (The biggest Municipal building in the world) with Al Spivy in Councilman Jones' office to chat about getting the City Council using SeeClickFix. Al's eyes lit up when he saw what SCF was all about. He grabbed another City Council employee instantly to take notes. We set the councilman up with a watch area in the meeting and he's off and running.
Off to Evolve's office across from city hall where we met with two Councilman at Large's staffers. Again SeeClickFix was met with excited response.
At 4:00 we had another meeting with The Philadelphia Clean Air Council, The Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition, Seth from Net Tuesday, Society Hill Community Organization, a staffer from Next American City and a few other community members. The conversation began with Society Hill and the Bike Coalition debating a bike lane through Society Hill which was a nice segue into how SeeClickFix works and the kinds of conversations like that one that happen on the site around reported issues.
The Philadelphia Clean Air council is going to be using the tool for idlefreephilly.com and the bicycle coalition already encourages riders to report issues via SeeClickFix. We signed up Society Hill for a watch area and discussed community watch areas a little bit and then moved on to what other problems we could tackle in Philly. Trash removal and the new Big Bellies were a discussion as well as park clean-ups.
Before leaving Rob took me over to a Parks Group Meeting where i met a few more community leaders.
Philly is a cool city with a lot of really active groups. Hopefully SeeClickFix will continue to help them communicate in new ways about old concerns.
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