New Civic Tech Tool #VizLou Aims to Connect Louisville Low-Income Millennials and Local Leaders
Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, today announced the Beta launch of a new mobile website designed to engage low-income youth in city planning processes. The tool, called #VizLou, was designed by OpenPlans and developed in collaboration with the City of Louisville with input from community organizations and young adults.
#VizLou prompts young adults to share ideas for the future of Louisville, and connect them with local leaders. Among those participating are Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, his senior staff and leaders from local non-profits.
The site allows users to easily share ideas with text and pictures by uploadingthem to www.vizlou.org or tweeting them by using the hashtag #VizLou. #VizLou is built to reach low-income young adults through social and community networks. Ideas received through #VizLou will be included in the Vision Louisville planning process.
“We are looking for bold, unconventional ideas from all parts of Louisville.” said Mayor Fischer. “VizLou is an attempt to help us reach low-income young adults, to give them a special channel to me and my team, and to challenge everyone in Louisville to think bigger.”
Ideas are tagged in one of seven categories: economy, health, energy, living, connectivity, identity or creativity. Users have uploaded a range of suggestions to date such as increasing bike and running paths, improving public transit and placing more solar powered trash cans throughout the city.
“We want to make sure that civic tech is harnessed intentionally for the benefit of low-income people,” said Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities. “VizLou is an experiment to help us better understand how technology can be used to bring low-income people into public processes and help local government harness the wisdom of crowds.”
Over the past year, Living Cities has been working to better understand the potential for technology to change the relationship between low-income cityresidents and their local governments. #VizLou’s initial deployment will inform potential future uses of the tool in Louisville, as well as anticipated test deployments in other cities participating in the Project on Municipal Innovation, which Living Cities convenes with the Ash Center for Municipal Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
#VizLou was developed by nonprofit civic software developer OpenPlans, in partnership with Living Cities and with special support by Living Cities members the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and MetLife Foundation.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is an innovative philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. Living Cities blends the collective financial resources of its members and deploys their collective knowledge and experience to improve the lives of low-income people and the cities where they live. Since its establishment, Living Cities has invested almost $1B in affordable housing, community facilities, and the creation of economic opportunity across the US. For more information, please visit: http://www.livingcities.org/