connect / 2020
Civy - Civic Engagement Platform
Our project is to improve civic engagement in LA County. By implementing our platform the LA government can efficiently share civic projects among its residents, and residents can provide feedback in confidence or vote on the projects thereby empowering the engagement of the diverse population of LA. Our platform also fosters education for residents and enable them to make informed feedback. Our platform is simple to use and very mobile. Civy's platform link https://www.civy.co
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
- City of Los Angeles
- We can work with any county, city or municipality
In what stage of innovation is this project?Pilot project or new program
What is the need you’re responding to?
Currently, residents are not given an easy way to participate in civic discussion, and traditional methods, such as town halls, lead to low participation. On the other hand, feedback received from residents (largely aggregated by other social media platforms) is often unusable by governments. I learnt these facts by partaking in a city’s public outreach process, by consulting many mayors and city managers, and by understanding the pain-points of city’s working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to serve their residents. Civy enables a direct dialog between cities, and its’ residents. Civy strives to engage with the ‘silent majority’, those people who are keen to participate but withhold on open-dialogue platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. Civy can also be used as a tool to communicate efficiently and effectively with LA’s residents. Civy can convey important-factual information during events impacting LA, such as the current public health crisis, or the upcoming 2028 LA Olympics.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
We are passionate about improving city and government services, & we have the collective experiences to design and deliver. I started Civy after working with cities and governments on governance-education for city officials undertaking major projects. I learnt about the myriad of challenges the city officials face in order to improve services to the residents. Public funding priorities aside, the cities are inundated with data which ends up causing more work and reduce productivity. And residents feel like they just aren’t being heard so they give up communicating with the cities; these are the ‘silent majority’. The constant barrage of social media messages, media searching for facts in a state of urgency, often end up publishing the wrong facts, putting the city officials on the back-step. Civy’s mission is to address all the above by working with LA and its residents, its think-tanks, its universities, to improve civic participation and creating a direct dialog.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
The current state of civic participation is low. Our public outreach platform can change the that. Once Civy is implemented, our services can continue to be used by Los Angeles and its residents. With Civy, the community will become more involved in the decision-making process, as well as feel empowered to be a part of civic discussion. Civy can be used not only to inform residents of current and upcoming projects, it can also serve as a platform to educate residents. Civy will create a direct dialog between cities and its residents, leading to on-going increased and diverse civic participation. Furthermore, Civy can inform residents during all kinds of events impacting LA’s residents, such as public health crises, and LA Olympics 2024.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
The current models for meaningful and high-impact civic engagement (town-halls, disparate social media campaigns) have led to low participation rates (estimated between 5%-7% of eligible resident population), despite majority of people being active on social media (86% +). Our vision is to not only increase engagement to above 80%, but to also diversify the demographics that participates in civic discussion (young, middle, older, all income levels, & major US languages). Our goals are to:
- Increase participation rate from the current 5% to our target of 80%.
- Increase diversity of resident participation from English speaking, upper-middle-class, well-educated to all ethnic groups, income, & ed levels. We aim to increase the diversity & inclusion ratio from the current 15% to our target of 80%.
- Enable residents of all neighborhoods to participate in public affairs. 100% of feedback is visually display (map) by zip codes & demographics. This will educate & enable public supervision of public funding priorities, eliminating current bias which skews twds wealthier areas with the “loudest voice”. The platform enables cities to ask the public for feedback; feedback remains confidential.
- Support the civic education of all residents to participate in their govt, lifting education to above 60%.
- Enable city to create & control its own narrative with custom preferences/reports. Civy adds value to city’s social media accts, increasing productivity of operations w/o adding additional work. Civy can reduce tech staff effort of scraping social media data by 2-3 days a week, allowing more time spent analyzing & strategic insight making. Civy complies with the Data Privacy guidelines, does not sell to 3rd parties. City owns the data.
Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?
- Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
- Public transit ridership
- Neighborhood council participation
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the best place to CREATE
- LA is the best place to PLAY
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support
- Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
- Capacity, including staff
- Strategy assistance and implementation