Monday, June 13, 2016

Unlike with Atlantic Yards, a Spanish town where Twitter complaints get results

The 6/9/16 New York Times article The Spanish Town That Runs on Twitter describes the small town Jun and how so many residents use Twitter to communicate with city government. (Of 3,500 people, more than half have Twitter accounts.)

“Everyone can speak to everyone else, whenever they want,” said the mayor, José Antonio Rodríguez Salas. “We are on Twitter because that’s where the people are.” And that enhances accountability regarding public services:
One recent hashtag that residents have used is #EndesaMeEstresa, or “Endesa You’re Stressing Me Out,” to highlight problems with Endesa, a local utility. After the company was confronted with Jun’s angry tweets, it quickly fixed the blackouts, Mr. Rodríguez Salas said. An Endesa spokeswoman declined to comment.
And in Brooklyn?

Of course, it's not foolproof, nor a replacement for all other avenues for interaction, but it's a stunning contrast with Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, and developer Greenland Forest City Partners.

ESD leaders have explicitly said they'd prefer that residents use email, other private contacts, or Atlantic Yards Watch (useful, but can be onerous in terms of registration/posting) regarding untoward environmental impacts, rather than using Twitter or Instagram. Same with Forest City, whose Chief of Staff (overseeing lobbying and public relations) Ashley Cotton is one main point of contact.

That's not very transparent. Nor are city agencies much better, actually. 311 can be a valuable repository of complaints and responses, but it does not deliver real-time results, and the responses often come too late to assess the issue at hand (for example, late-night noise).

But what if ESD and Greenland Forest City actually aimed to be responsive in real time? They could then respond--perhaps first to acknowledge the issue, then after checking with other involved agencies--on Twitter and Instagram to documented problems like the one below. Or this. Or this.

Why don't they? Would it deter condo sales in the carefully curated "neighborhood from scratch"?

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