What is Open311?

We have referred to the idea of ‘open services’ in many posts on this site. For example our upcoming white paper outlines the case for government being a more avid adopter of services built around the citizen and availing of open data. But Open311 takes openness and service provision to a different level. The clue is in the name. Open311 is about creating an open architecture for non-emergency service provision. The end-game is providing systems that allow citizens to better engage with the cities in which they live.

As an open movement there are many good resources that explain the thinking behind Open311.

This Wikipedia entry is a good start to better understand 311 services. And Tom Steinberg of MySociety has explained a bit more about Open311 here. To help even more the Open311 movement has its own website and blog. This article provides a great overview of the entire Open311 ecosystem that includes city authorities, open SDK initiatives, academic studies and much more:

“Open311 first began with an API for Washington D.C.’s 311 system, but it really become a community when the leadership of San Francisco and the support of organizations like OpenPlans, Code for America, and even the White House brought many cities, companies, and organizations together into a productive collaboration. Now it’s a rich ecosystem of cities, technology platforms, and forward thinking initiatives around the world that are building common infrastructure for people to better engage with their government and get connected to their community.”

San Francisco’s commitment to 311 continues. This article describes how the city has made significant savings by curbing graffiti, thereby saving millions of taxpayer dollars.

We’ll feature more on 311 in the coming weeks on Citizen2015

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About the Author

Jeffrey Peel
Editor, Citizen20Series and MD, Quadriga Consulting.I am responsible for all site content and have overall responsibility for site editorial, as well as site membership.