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idea #035: AI+Citizen Driven Planning

How do you use citizen engagement and AI to plan better cities?

I recently read an interesting article from New America on how open data access promotes citizen engagement which can actually help solve more elusive problems of varying scale at the local level. The difficulty is in how to broker the dialogue between the citizen collective and governing bodies.

What data do you use?

How is it delivered?

What's the incentive?

How do you capture new information and uncover patterns?



The list goes on.

However, the job to be done for pretty much every city, is to enhance the well-being of its citizens and environment. That can mean many things, but usually we're talking about economy, crime/safety, education, commute time, opportunity, affordability, and healthcare. All of these are deeply connected to the built environment and local policy.

The startup idea lies in between. 1) How to make it easy for cities to connect with their people (communication, mobile tech, surveys, data sharing...) and 2) also aggregate existing data streams into one platform (taxes, demographics, maintenance, infrastructure, businesses,...). Cities themselves become customers licensing the platform. There could be an entire service model that goes alongside the 'app creator' and AI component to the value prop as well, however overall, this feels like a better fit as a non-profit or social impact venture.

As a concept, this starts to veer toward the 'Smart City' ideal, but instead of implanting new technology, the focus here is more on how to deploy resources efficiently using data while breaking down the barriers between the citizen and the official. The technology to do this is already ubiquitous, so the solution becomes more about stitching different pieces together and finding the data to begin with.

So what could this lead to?

  1. Dynamic and creative building permits and urban development zones. Use data to incentivize or prohibit certain types of building in very specific areas.

  2. Maintenance Prioritization. Produce schedules and appropriate funds to upgrade infrastructure in the most productive way possible.

  3. Safety and Related Notifications. Connecting with citizens directly in event of an incident or transport closure.

  4. Data Sharing Incentives. Provide tax relief for those that opt-in to data sharing and surveys.

  5. Transport Optimization. Plan bus routes, schedules, infrastructure upgrades with more confidence.

  6. Micro-Policy. Tailor policy specific to micro-neighborhoods, almost to the individual.

Probably a lot more unknown unknowns on this list, but it's exciting.


#dailystartup, #innovation, #architecture

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