See a Problem? Text City Hall


Tech-savvy Bostonians with a bone to pick with the city (snowed-in streets, potholes, leaking fire hydrants) needn't worry any more about bureaucratic red tape. Thanks to a new iPhone app called Citizens Connect, residents can snap photos of busted streetlights or stray graffiti, punch in a few key details, and submit the complaint directly to those with the power to help. It even integrates the iPhone's Google Maps software for easy locating, and complaints can be submitted anonymously. The app was posted last November, and according to, its popularity has exploded, logging more than 750 complaints and 2,500 downloads. And the best part (besides the fact that it's free): Reaction to complaints seems to be quick.

It's all part of a groundswell that a recent CNN story identified as "Gov 2.0," as state and local governments move towards sharing data about their civic services with developers to cultivate in a useful way.