The Pied Piper of Public Pests

<em>Policy Matters</em> looks at a recent article in <em>The Washington Post</em> about Terry Lynch, the city's notorious "pest" who complains about all matters of urban blight, and argues why cities would be better off with more Terrys.
June 19, 2012, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The subject of a Washington Post article asking whether he's the city's most annoying man, Policy Matters celebrates Terry Lynch for "performing a valuable service for his city" by "filling an information gap that, if left unaddressed, would prevent cities from living up to their potential."

The key to being to take advantage of the information Terry, and those like him, supply is being able to decipher which among his myriad complaints "warrants the attention of finite city resources." Policy Matters sees technology, and something like a city complaint app, as the potential solution.

"Cities can use an app to provide citizens with a quick, easy way to report issues with public space - something like 311 on your phone. Furthermore the app could organize complaints for the city in terms of importance. For example, if 100 people complain about an issue, the issue could automatically be listed as a top priority for the city. Hence, a lot of civic engagement could be leveraged to ensure cities are allocating their resources efficiently."

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Published on Saturday, June 16, 2012 in Policy Matters
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