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How Falling Off a Bike Made Me Want to Build a Crowd Powered City

I remember the shock of being on the tarmac with traffic and trucks narrowly missing me on the busy familiar road I had been cycling on for 12...


I remember the shock of being on the tarmac with traffic and trucks narrowly missing me on the busy familiar road I had been cycling on for 12 years in London. I inadvertently drove my bike into a pothole. Like the proverbial Alice in Wonderland, I went through the rabbit hole and started thinking about the city and the neighborhood I live in, particularly why citizens seem helpless to do anything to fix their streets.

Since I am a designer of mobile operating systems I am used to creating feedback loops for users to file bugs so that we can improve software systems. The challenge of applying this sort of thinking to cities is to create an evolutionary operating system that is not merely a one way bug-reporting tool that files complaints to already overworked city councils, but a two-way bug solving tool that citizens can use to come together to crowdsource solutions to common problems, help optimize and share scarce resources, and possibly crowd-fund those solutions with local businesses, neighbors, and town councils.

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