Nextdoor, a social network for neighborhoods, is a logical partner for municipal governments looking to foster community-based initiatives -- and cities are starting to do just. In recent weeks New York City and Sacramento, CA have both announced partnerships with Nextdoor, and more cities are likely to follow.
New York City’s NYCgov channel will have a presence on Nextdoor, and will soon be joined by other city agencies and services, including the New York Police Department and utility companies, in what will eventually be a “comprehensive partnership with all the city services,” according to Nextdoor founder and CEO Nirav Tolia. The Nextdoor partnership follows Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s adoption other social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, which are now go-to sources for information about emergencies, school closings, and the like. New Yorkers who join Nextdoor can choose from over 1,800 different neighborhoods.
Meanwhile the Sacramento Police Department is partnering with Nextdoor for a neighborhood safety initiative, creating virtual crime watch programs across the city. The partnership will also allow the Sacramento PD to distribute public safety information and crime prevention tips, according to Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers, who stated: “All safe neighborhoods have one thing in common, they communicate with each other, and we just want to be a part of that.”
Some cities appear to be taking a slightly different route: Nextdoor’s hometown, San Francisco, is creating a social network Web site and app specifically for emergencies called SF72. The new platform will allow SF residents to register their homes and list supplies they own which may be useful in an emergency (for example portable generators), as well as their own disaster-response skills. Members will be organized into neighborhoods, so in the event of an emergency they will automatically be able to see what resources are available nearby. People who need help can post their requests for assistance on the same neighborhood-level communities.
SF72 was designed by Ideo in collaboration with the SF city government’s Department of Emergency Management, and the platform is designed to allow easy integration with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.