What if City Hall could open its ears to many more people? Textizen asks questions on posters in public places, then collects citizen feedback via text message. Anyone with a minute and an opinion can reply.
Last Friday, the City of Philadelphia and Code for America began a pilot of Textizen, a new system for gathering community feedback to shape the city’s ongoing Comprehensive Plan, Philadelphia2035.
For four weeks this summer, residents and commuters in Philadelphia’s Center City and Lower Northeast will encounter posters that have been posted throughout the neighborhoods–bus and transit shelters, recreation centers, and other public places–that pose questions about the city’s transportation, recreation, and quality of life. Passersby respond to the questions via text message to a phone number displayed on each poster.
Staff from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission will access the feedback through a web application and use it to help shape recommendations in the Philadelphia2035 District Plans.
“We’re excited to pilot and prototype another civic engagement tool with Code for America,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Philadelphia is a two-time Code for America city and we have been experimenting with different tools to facilitate participatory and interactive connections between the public and government, including Change by Us Philly, Neighborhow, and now Textizen. Philadelphia has received multiple awards for being one of the most open and transparent city governments in the country, and this demonstrates our continued commitment to increasing citizen engagement.”