Innovation That Matters

Citizens give feedback on city development via Tinder-style app


Santa Monica citizens are swiping left or right in the CitySwipe app to give their opinions on the city’s proposals for its 20-year downtown development plan.

CitySwipe is Downtown Santa Monica Inc’s opinion gathering app. The non-profit organization manages the center of the city and is using the app as part of the local government’s consultation on its Downtown Community Plan. The plan provides proposals for the area’s next 20 years of development and includes strategies for increased accessibility and affordable housing and improved public spaces.

The original plan had been to close the consultation period in early 2016 but in order to better reach and interact with as many locals as possible, the review was extended to early 2017. Like Tinder, users of the app swipe left or right depending on their views. Questions are either Yes or No or “Which do you prefer?” and each question is illustrated with a photo. There are 38 questions in total ranging from building design and public art to outdoor concerts and parking. Additional information is gathered by asking users to provide their location and preferred method of transport.

Mexico City recently conducted a city-wide consultation on its new constitution, and Oslo, Norway, is using an app to involve school children in redesigning safe public walkways and cycle paths. How could city officials use the structure of successful public consultation campaigns to provide information updates on the progress of projects?



Download PDF