Type: Online platform
Issues: Streets’ conditions | Mobility and accessibility | Social issues and public services | Environment | Sharing culture and experiences
Ziudad is a digital platform whose goal is the common “definition” of cities by their citizens. It is a social network that facilitates the communication between citizens and municipalities, between consumers and enterprises. In Ziudad citizens can collaborate for the notification and resolution of urban problems, can directly communicate problems to the municipality, make a complaint or propose ideas for the improvement and development of their city and its quality of life.
How Ziudad works
Ziudad is available in three countries (Spain, Chile, Mexico) and in two languages (Castellano and Catalan). It works through what they call zumbidos (“buzzings”), being all announcements, questions, issues proposed by the citizens on the platform. There are different kinds of zumbidos: urban defect, complaint, idea or proposal, request for explanation, opinion or experience and kudos. Only the zumbidos regarding urban defects will be sent directly to the municipalities. The other types of entries need support by more citizens in order to be sent.
When you present a zumbido you can ask other citizens for support through the utilities provided by Ziudad: share by email, Facebook or Twitter. Citizens of your zone will be informed about your entry and will be able to think whether they want to support it. You can choose your zumbido to be anonymous or to bear your name. Users are asked to express themselves freely and to be respectful and responsible for the content proposed in their messages.
On the other hand, a certain commitment is asked as well from the municipality, which is expected to reply to the zumbidos. Each citizen who supported the zumbido can decide whether the answer by the municipality is satisfactory or not. What happens when the municipality doesn’t reply? Ziudad introduces the concept of ruido (“noise”). The more support is given to a “buzzing”, the more “noisy” it becomes, being communicated to local media, websites and blogs for widespread dissemination.
What is so good about this project? What could be improved?
We find the “buzz” metaphor interesting: even if it can sound (and look) a bit like a trivialization of citizen involvement, it matches the platform’s goal of making citizen feedback easy and visible to the municipality and the city in general. By keeping interactions simple, it delivers to the citizens a free and easy system with an intuitive, appealing interface.
It is open to a greater variety of topics/issues than FixMyStreet or ReparaCiudad, both quite similar platforms in certain aspects, and could have great potential for triggering urban activism. Asking real commitment from the municipalities is also a big point, as is the way they propose to handle the (fairly likely) case when the local government doesn’t respond: by expanding the “buzz” to a “noise” all over the media.