Could this ‘Tinder for cities’ change the way your hometown is designed?

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Tech is making urban planning inclusive

Don’t like what you see? Swipe left! Image: Peshkova/Shutterstock

In the modern dating world, the concept of ‘swiping right’ to someone you find attractive is old news.

But imagine if such activity could extend to city planning? This is a reality in California, where city authorities are trying to gauge public opinion by using an app called CitySwipe.

The app, which was modelled on the successful Tinder format, is enabling Santa Monica residents to use their smart phones to swipe on everything from parking, murals, street furniture and market stalls for a forthcoming downtown development plan.

The way it works is straightforward. Users are presented with a photo of some street art, or park furniture, together with a caption “Do you want more of this?” The direction of the swipe indicates approval or disapproval.

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While this may sound superficial, as the Guardian writes, the app makes the public consultation process effortless and more enjoyable than the alternative – filling out lengthy feedback forms or agreeing to speak to council workers with clipboards.

With numerous digital applications coming into the fore with the aim of making our lives ‘smarter’, this is one tech tool that will enable developers and city planners to work with transparency and efficiency.

Collating feedback in such a digitized manner has its critics, however. Largely, that data is only coming from an affluent, tech savvy demographic.

Let us know what you think! Would you like to see CitySwipe used in your city in Asia?

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