Medford will soon be opening a new park on Clippership. The fact that Medford continues to dedicate public spaces in the face of a poor economy demonstrates the city’s civic commitment. Medford was even able to build new schools as other communities were facing educational cuts. Clearly, Medford puts its money where its mouth is.
In a large part, the community drives these institutional changes. We should be proud of the part we play. But we shouldn’t be complacent.
We’ve been able to call and complain about graffiti and trash problems for a few generations, and I strongly advocate for that. However, that’s not a call you want to make on company time, and City Hall’s hours are limited. SeeClickFix is a website that aims to address problems by allowing the public to determine the needs, and brings them to the attention of city officials.
SeeClickFix uses these three principles, which are taken from their website:
Empowerment. SeeClickFix allows anyone to report and track non-emergency issues anywhere in the world via the internet. This empowers citizens, community groups, media organizations and governments to take care of and improve their neighborhoods.
Efficiency. Two heads are better than one and 300 heads are better than two. In computer terminology, distributed sensing is particularly powerful at recognizing patterns, such as those that gradually take shape on a street. Besides, the government can't be in all places at all times. We make it easy and fun for everyone to see, click and fix.
Engagement. Citizens who take the time to report even minor issues and see them fixed are likely to get more engaged in their local communities. It's called a self-reinforcing loop. This also makes people happy and everyone benefits from that.
For instance, one of the current “hot” issues is a new gate latch at Carr Park. This is a safety issue, as once the little ones get past that gate, they only have a sidewalk between themselves and the street. Once you register at SeeClickFix, you can add an issue and “vote” on current ones. City officials can see where the greatest need or interest is and act accordingly.
This past spring and summer we’ve seen tremendous community involvement. Grace Church’s GreenUp CleanUp is the most outstanding example. There have been CleanUps sponsored by individuals, scout groups, and community groups. This has really empowered the people most affected by the state of our parks: children. Patch has covered a , a , and a , all working hard to better the community.
The kids have set the bar high, but I think we’re equal to the task. If you see a problem, call City Hall (the Department of Public Works is 393-2417), go to SeeClickFix, and involve yourself in the clean-up effort. The only bad response is doing nothing.