Crowdsourcing in the public sector: Why people participate in the urban maintenance platform

How can we use technology to improve the interactions and relationship between (local) governments and their citizens? This question guided my research when working for a Toronto-based think-tank led by Don Tapscott in 2010. Coming back from Toronto, I contributed to theorizing an online platform (web- and app-based) for reporting urban maintenance issues in Linz. Following a motion of former vice-mayor of Linz, Christian Forsterleitner, the administration implemented this idea and launched Other cities are now adopting the Schau.auf.Linz platform too, such as the City of Bregenz.

This project also resulted in numerous research activities such as publications and conference submissions (e.g., poster at the MIT Collective Intelligence Conference, HICCS 2017, a book chapter). Most recently, Lisa Schmidthuber, Dennis Hilgers, myself and Stefan Etzelstorfer have a paper forthcoming in Government Information Quarterly with the title: „The emergence of local open government: Determinants of citizen participation in online service reporting.“ This paper examines why people participate in public crowdsourcing platforms (also called citizensourcing), such as Schau.auf.Linz. The dataset for this paper is a survey sent to 2200 registered users (773 completed questionnaires, a response rate of 35.14 %). One finding is that people who already reported urban maintenance issues via traditional channels (e.g., telephone, e-mail) are more active on the platform.

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