Tuesday, April 13, 2010

FixMyStreet, will you ?

The Fix My Street concept was born in the UK under the mySociety umbrella : volunteer citizens write to their MPs, report problems, and sometimes fix them.

Seoul citizens launched a Korean version of the website : people signal a pothole or a broken sign, and generally within days it's fixed. The concept is very nice and may prevent broken ankles, but there's no guarantee that the result will look good... even if street repairs performed by local administrations don't always look good either.

Something FixMyStreet Korea did really well is their website* and brand : Igeoba ("이거바") stands for Igeorireul bagguja" ("이거리를 바꾸자" - let's change this street) and sounds like Igeobwa ("이거봐"), which means "look !" or "look at this !"

Take this case in 3677 Geumgwang-dong, Jungwon-gu, Seongnam : the picture of a big pothole in the middle of the street, with the map to locate it, were posted on April 8...

And the next day, it's covered (see exhibit B). You can almost wonder if the guy who did it was the very person who posted the case in the first place, or better : the owner of the real estate agency advertised on both pictures...

Personally, I wouldn't encourage this kind of initiatives, except maybe in forsaken places where local authorities say they cannot afford public work. But in any case, it should be done with their approval.

In Seoul, where citizens can easily make themselves heard, there are already hundred ways of contributing to cityscape improvement at the individual level. The positive thing is citizens are more and more taking to heart their environment, and are ready to volunteer for it.

Seoul Village 2010

FixMyStreet.kr definitely beats the original (FixMyStreet.com by mysociety.org).

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