French app encourages users to interact with others in their neighborhood.
Many point to the breakdown of community cohesion as a direct result of social media. Now a French startup based in Lyon has launched an app that promotes exchanges between people who don’t necessarily know each other, but who use the same services in the same area.
Launched in September 2015 a few months before COP21, CityLity aims to connect citizens with each other and their local services, branding itself as a “social network of proximity”. Users can search for local services such as a local plumber or sports facility; they can alert the responsible authority about a problem that needs fixing (a leaking water hydrant for example); they can even ask for help moving house from their neighbors. The system also incentivizes eco-friendly behavior, and has created the country’s first interactive eco-responsible map which lists services such as recycling, charging points for electric cars and rental bike stations.
Encouraging smarter local networks is the driving force behind an app where citizens can input questions in the same way as they would use Siri and receive evidence-based answers regarding their city. As the excitement for virtual networks wear off, will we see technology developed to encourage physical communities?