Vancouver councillor proposes launch of mobile 'City App'

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      A motion going before Vancouver city council next week proposes the development of a mobile 'City App' that could allow residents to provide public input, report bylaw infractions, and access other city information from their smartphones.

      The motion, which will be introduced by Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer on February 14, asks city staff to report back on a financial analysis and timeline for a mobile app that would provide access to city information and services such as business licensing and recreation programming.

      “If you’re walking by a rezoning application sign, having a QR code and just being able to go to the website and put your input in right then, if you’re a smart phone user, that would make a lot more sense to you than having to write it down, go home, look it up online, show up at a meeting, those kinds of things,” Reimer told the Straight by phone.

      Reimer noted the app, which would work across common mobile platforms including Blackberry, Android and iPhone, could include other potential functions such as applying for a dog licence, or booking a field for a sports team. She added it could speed up the process of confirming bylaw infractions, which are currently reported through the city’s 311 phone service, particularly if members of the public were able to send photos and geotag their location.

      According to the councillor, Vancouver has seen “an exponential and explosive growth in smart phones” during the last year in particular.

      “We invested politically and structurally, and to some degree financially, in open data, 311, we’re doing a new website that’ll be launched in a couple of months, and that’s all great and really helps people get information and access to services and there’s enough functions, but if people are moving in droves to smart phones, we kind of need to keep up with that curve,” she said.

      Vancouver mayor Gregor Roberton expressed his support for the ‘City App’ motion in a statement today (February 8).

      “Vancouver is continuing to demonstrate leadership on how digital innovation can make a city more open, accessible and accountable to its citizens,” he said. “A new mobile ‘City App’ would make the City's key services accessible both quickly and more conveniently.”

      Reimer said if the motion passes next week, city council will vote at a later date on whether to proceed with developing the mobile app.

      Comments

      10 Comments

      Birdy

      Feb 8, 2012 at 2:54pm

      "allow residents to provide public input, report bylaw infractions..."

      Considering that Vision has proven year after year that they don't care about public input, this is simply an American style "see something, say something" program, but for dog leash whiners and residential parking permit fascists.

      Can we name it iSnitch?

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      scathie

      Feb 8, 2012 at 9:54pm

      Please. No more QR codes.

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      I'm sick of this photo.

      Feb 9, 2012 at 8:06am

      Well we certainly know who has taken over from Spencer Herbert as the Georgia Straight's favorite weepy liberal -- Reimer. You guys are so transparent. Like Herbert, Reimer is devoid of ideas or fight. Like Herbert, Reimer seems to tap into the your weepy liberal inner child.

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      Urban_Citizen

      Feb 9, 2012 at 8:13am

      It's interesting that "provide public input" is not in Councillor Reimer's motion on the Council agenda. I hope this "app" is not used as justification for reducing public access to City Hall (perhaps by re-scheduling Council Meetings?) or eliminating public engagement efforts such as open houses.

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      Charlie Smith

      Feb 9, 2012 at 8:25am

      Dear I'm sick of this photo,

      If the Georgia Straight's favourite weepy liberal is Andrea Reimer, then why didn't the paper include her in its list of 10 recommended council candidates in the last civic election?

      There were three Vision, three COPE, two NPA, one NSV, and one independent on that list, and none had the surname "Reimer".

      Charlie Smith

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      Re: photo.

      Feb 9, 2012 at 10:59am

      It's a goofy juxtaposition of nature and technology about as subtle as a fart in an elevator. Says all the "right" things, for those worried about the 'right' notions. Reimer's a put on. Who can forget the Courier's articles protraying her as a one time 'street-kid', who just happened to do her street kid 'thing' in various locations in Europe. Sounds a west-side holiday to me.

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      City of Regina

      Feb 9, 2012 at 11:26am

      The City of Regina's official mobile app is called the CityApp, and we are working on or already have most of this functionality.

      Could we ask that you pick a different name? GreenCityApp? App4Van?
      thanks and good luck

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      Polo

      Feb 9, 2012 at 11:04pm

      A city's role and focus should not be on developing this kind of applications that can be better provided and have already been developed in private sector. An example is SeeClickFix at http://seeclickfix.com/apps. Local government should focus on building a more open and citizen engagement platform rather than on competing with private sector for developing every popular applications.

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      James G

      Feb 10, 2012 at 11:36am

      @ Birdy
      "iSnitch" is pretty good ...
      "Committee for the Defense of the Revolution" was already taken.

      Too much to hope that there will be a section to report elected officials for unbridled arrogance and minimal commitment to basic democratic values?

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      Andrew

      Feb 14, 2012 at 9:43am

      Is there transparency to the way contracts will be awarded? Is Vision Vancouver insider David Eaves involved? We shall see...

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