The quality of life in a city is often related to the quality of infrastructure and services. A city is a complex system that has many elements in play. There are various civic agencies involved to make a city function the right way. All of them have their own way of operating and viewing the city; for example, BBMP looks at Bengaluru through 198 wards, but the police department looks at it through 108 jurisdictions. Defining a civic tech solution for this complex system is always a challenge that must accommodate every department’s perspective, working models, citizens’ information relevant to their neighbourhood, and tools to solve them by providing the right inputs. They should offer the right way to interact and call relevant people for the assistance they require.
IChangeMyCity is one app that allows the citizens to be connected to the government.
A technology solution that maps a city needs to take care of the complexity and growing ways of how the city needs to perform and respond to citizens’ needs and suggestions while mapping the quality of life transparently and collaboratively. Janaagraha, through its pioneering citizen engagement and open data platform, IChangeMyCity, has been working to bridge the gap between citizens and the governments. Since its launch in 2013, IChangeMyCity (ICMYC) has provided an easy way for citizens to report the issues they find in their neighbourhood and know about the quality of life around them.
With ICMYC and Swacchata Platform’s launch in 2013, we analysed cities, citizen usage, mapped various departments, and interaction levels. We have been working on ways to more straightforward, a quicker response from government officials to the citizens. We are in the process of reinventing I Change My City to I Change My City 2.0. The newer platform is being designed and architected in a way that it can be customised based on how each city and its different departments operate and what kind of information is most relevant to its citizens.
To map a city’s operations, the following are the essential functions the platform will have.
City Mapping – The strength of any civic tech platform depends on the simplicity for the user. The simplicity comes through the intelligent architecture of the platform, which makes it run efficiently. The automatic assignment of tickets or operations of the departments is done through GIS-based maps that capture the city’s operational division. Based on these GIS-based maps, every service, operating zones, public amenities, and quality of life can be visually showcased.
Civic Agencies – The essential information of who is responsible for what work across the geography can be overlaid on the city mapping and showcased to citizens.
Tickets – Following the grievance resolution workflow from the original I Change My City, which consisted of a simple workflow for citizens to post a grievance without knowing the department and the civic agency responsible for the issue, the platform itself finds it for them. This module will be enhanced to take up any kind of work request, grievance, service application, and process based on the workflow of the relevant department.
Budgets and Ongoing works – It would be possible for the citizens to access, understand the budgets and the projects ongoing in the neighbourhood through the app.
Citizen Feedback and data collection – It would be possible to get constant feedback and do targeted data collection on specific aspects that need different technology implementation and budget priorities on what would need another data collection method.
Campaigns, events and volunteering – The platform will provide avenues for the citizens to actively engage. It will allow elected representatives to organise meetings such as ward committee meetings.
With the above modules and providing easy access to the platform through various channels like mobile apps, web apps or third-party applications like WhatsApp, this will also allow other civil society organisations (CSOs) or enthusiasts to use the information through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and even build applications using this platform. We are actively working on putting together all the experience gained over the years. Hence, the new version of IChangeMyCity can cope with the complexities of various cities. It can be implemented with ease in India and abroad, providing one-stop access to all information the citizens need to work with the city government civic agencies.