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311 street photo project could use your help

Firehydrant Steve Lambert and I are working on photo project called "People's 311" and are asking New Yorkers to submit photos of 311 conditions in their neighborhoods. To give you a rough idea of what we're going for, see

In order to launch this right, we need to get a lot more photos up (cell phone cameras are ok!). Here's what we need photos of:

* potholes
* sidewalk or bikelane hazards
* illegal outdoor advertising
* dead or dying street trees
* peeling paint in public places (subways)
* damaged or open fire hydrants
* missing or dangling traffic signs
* fallen over newspaper boxes
* illegal dumping

...and the like. You can submit them via our flickr pool. If you know how to map photos in flickr, please do.

We'll also be doing a web page ( describing the project. In a nutshell, People's 311 is a crowdsourcing response to Bloomberg's 311 Scout program, which he announced last week.  He'll be sending city workers out to "drive every city street on a monthly basis" to report 311 problems.  Seems like something citizens could help with...

Posted by carrie on 08/20/2007 | Permalink


I don't know about this project... I can't quite see how a non-specific photo of "Damaged road, Brooklyn" could result in specific and actionable public improvement plans. For the most part, I'm on the Carrie McLaren train to a cleaner New York, but... might this project be a bit like those on-line petitions that everyone signs and nobody reads?

Posted by: byrd | Aug 23, 2007 12:10:19 PM

No, all of the photos have addresses! Don't just look at the title, see the captions. When we get more photos up, we will be mapping them, a la

Posted by: carrie | Aug 23, 2007 12:25:09 PM

The Fund for the City of New York was trying something like this a few years ago, ComNet. Not sure how successful it was, but maybe it's useful to you:

Similar thing in Connecticut:

Both of them relied on giving community groups PDAs to do the reporting rather than crowdsourcing it, though.

Posted by: tigoe | Sep 3, 2007 5:52:37 PM

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