It is because participation from citizens in governance related matters makes our local elected representatives accountable. We elect those who govern us, and therefore our participation is the only way to get them to deliver to our satisfaction. Also, participation allows us to be part of the decision making table at the local level, at the footprint that matters to us most -- our neighbourhoods. This means decisions on our local water supply, our roads, our sewage, our traffic, approvals for land use and zoning and so on.
While urban areas continue to struggle to have basic infrastructure and services meant to ensure liveability, making it happen is not the responsibility of the government alone. The democratic process does not end with voting. We, the residents of a city’s locality are as much responsible for it as are our elected representatives and civic agencies, and need to take ownership of it as individuals and a community.
Fixing our drains, our roads, our garbage, our water, our traffic, therefore, is fixing the nuts and bolts of our democracy. It takes the ideals of democracy into the realm of concrete action. And this is what ichangemycity is all about; active citizenship to facilitate action, and to bring about change on the ground.
ichangemycity is a locational online social networking platform for civic action. The site uses the power of the internet to connect people locally, and helps them discuss and act on their civic issues. By helping people come together and collaborate as an online community, it transforms citizens into change agents.
The site provides news and in-depth information on civic issues, celebrates heroes in the city striving to make a difference, and offers a map based tool to view one's ward, political boundaries, elected representatives, polling parts, nearest local civic agency. The site also helps people find out their quality of life, voter information, local groups working on improving urban quality of life and so on.
A key feature of the site is its complaint box, a tool that allows people to post their complaints regarding civic issues, track other complaints on civic amenities in their neighbourhood, and participate in conversations with the community, and find solutions together.
Being an information exchange platform with the requisite tools for community engagement, the site encourages bubble-up thought leadership and solution from one and all. Through the spirit of active citizenship, ichangemycity intends to help improve the quality of life in the city.