In the face of this growing mistrust among the citizenry, what is the role of technology and what do local governments have to do?
Citizen engagement through technology is especially powerful at the local government level. In this context, we have seen the rise in the use of mobile apps related to the provisioning of basic services, such as suspicious activity alerts, garbage pickup, pothole fixing, etc.
However, we are also keenly aware that technology is only an instrument, and unless carefully woven into the existing mechanisms through which citizens and governments interact, it can be irrelevant, at best, or even damaging to the social fabric. What if an app creates citizen demands that the government has no capacity to respond to? How to avoid building a technology solution that has a regressive effect, increasing the voice of some, while making the voice of others even harder to hear?
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