News, Public Participation

“Let’s Do It” – Why Not?

You may have heard the story of how on May 3, 2008, 40,000 volunteers picked up all the trash in the country of Estonia. Since then, similar “Let’s Do It” actions have been organized from Bangalore to New Dehli.

In the U.S., there’s been a lot of action around technology and government, and conferences with tag lines like, “Private Sector Solutions Meet Government Challenges.” Two major points of energy in what’s called the Gov 2.0 or Open Government movement have been transparency, pushed by organizations like the Sunlight Foundation, and the “open data” movement, harnessing governments’ propensity for statistics to create handy mobile programs for organizing and accessing useful information on parking, recycling, available taxis and neighborhood crime data.

But I’ve always seen Gov 2.0’s greatest potential as unleashing projects like Let’s Do It, harnessing collective energy and talent to overcome big civic challenges. Could San Francisco create a Let’s Do It project to collectively map all of the dumping and graffiti in the city and take it on in a massive day of volunteer action involving muralists, City workers, business sponsors, neighbors and volunteers from around the Bay?

I think so.

~ Adriel Hampton


23 thoughts on ““Let’s Do It” – Why Not?

  1. Jay Nath says:

    That’s awesome! We should see if Ed Reiskin is game. They already have a strong network of volunteers to leverage this idea.

  2. This is an amazing idea and one being used by SeeClickFix already on a smaller scale. Lets do it!

    I am in SF mid month with 2 other SeeClickFix co-founders and would love to help put this together.

    We have the apps, we have the alerts I bet we could use donor’s choose or similar to raise funds for bags and gloves.

    We could even put volunteers on our 1800 number to take voice mail reports leaving 311 completely out of the process.

    (We’ll make sure to turn off the twitter alerts for SFGov when users start reporting 🙂

    Who’s spearheading this? We’re in if it wasn’t obvious.

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  4. Alissa Black says:

    I love this idea too. Playing off Ben’s thoughts, we could get ALL the open 311 requests that DPW and MTA haven’t been able to close re graffiti and dumping and map those, with the ability to create a small social group around each clean-up site, or neighborhood.

    I’m game to volunteer on any front to make the City cleaner.


  5. Pingback: Let’s Do It San Francisco – Next Steps « OpenSF Blog

  6. Glad to hear you thinking about it.

    There is an effort to develop open-source tools to make it easier to organize Let’s do it type citizen initiatives.

    Ushaidi real-time crisis mapping is one platform for geo-mapping that can be used as a starting point:

    For your info last similar actions:

    Portugese team had over 100 000 volunteers on 20th of March 2010 and Slovenia estimates approx. 150 000 for their 17th of April effort.

    Regards from LDI world team …

    • adrielhampton says:

      Thank you, Henri! I’m familiar with Ushahidi, and hopefully volunteers in San Francisco can help collaborate on open-source tools for all. Those numbers are incredible!

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