City collaborates with social network to engage residents

Salt Lake City is turning to new technology to increase citizen engagement and improve the link between residents and City services.  City leaders announced a new partnership with Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods.

“It is a great way to method to communicate with residents,” said city council member, James Rogers.  “This is a great way to drill on issues.”

Nextdoor allows residents to create private neighborhood websites to share information, including neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, local services and even lost pets.  Users can register for free and the City won’t have access to information kept on the network.

“It will remain completely private to registered users,” said Rogers.

The City plans to use Nextdoor to share news and information about services, programs, free events and emergency notifications to registered users of the network within the City.  The Salt Lake City Police Department will use the Nextdoor platform to increase public safety via a virtual neighborhood watch program.

“Using technology like Nextdoor is vital to our community,” said Brown.  “Nextdoor gives us a direct line to residents with important updates.”

According to the City, over 75 percent of Salt Lake City neighborhoods have launched Nextdoor website groups.

The Rose Park Community Council has been using the site to reach out to Rose Park residents.  The council routinely posts meeting agendas and other neighborhood news at the Rose Park website group.

The community council used the Nextdoor platform to organize with three separate neighborhood groups for a Saturday morning cleanup of the 600 North overpass.

Members must verify their address before joining a specific Nextdoor neighborhood group. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by Google or other search engines.

According to Mayor Becker, the City’s collaboration with Nextdoor will complement their CitySourced App, SLC Mobile, that allows residents to report quality of life issues, like potholes etc., and directs them to the specific City agency.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.