Elk Grove Wins Innovator Award

Elk Grove for newsletter

When it comes to Customer Service, the City of Elk Grove is going above and beyond.  In 2011 they partnered with PublicStuff to create a new digital communications solution as a way for residents to more easily interact with the city. As Elk Grove City Councilman Gary Davis keenly said, “Our goal is to reach every resident where they are. These days, just about everyone has a smartphone with app capability.”

The Ask Elk Grove app allows citizens to submit information and requests to the city via their smart phones, and to receive updates on the status of the request. But it doesn’t stop there. Every time a citizen submits a request, the City of Elk Grove replies back with an individualized comment about the status of the request. These comments are entered by Mona Schmidt, Senior Customer Service Specialist, who makes sure that all requests are properly submitted, and that citizen are kept apprised of the status of the request.  By always initiating a dialogue with citizens, the City of Elk Grove has one of the highest rates of comments of any PublicStuff client. In response to Mona’s comments, many of the citizens also comment back with additional information and to express their appreciation.

The City of Elk Grove also makes great use of the Widgets feature in PublicStuff. Whether directing citizens to the schedule for the Old Town widgets page 2skating rink, or helping them figure out which day of the week is their trash day, the widgets are always kept up to date by IT Manager Nicole Guttridge and Mona Schmidt. The City of Elk Grove knows that in order to keep citizens using the app, they must provide more than just a platform to submit requests, but also provide citizens access to the types of information they seek. Keeping the events up to date encourages people to keep checking the app, which allows them to catch resident’s attention about things going on in the City. The mobile app has changed how they look at their website as well. Everything that is going on the City’s website is now also considered for the mobile app, which really does make it a one stop shop for City information.

As the PublicStuff Client Innovator Award winner the City of Elk Grove will be honored with a special banner to display in City Hall and/or at Events and a web icon for their website. To learn more about what the City of Elk Grove is doing to engage with their residents, see the case studies on our website.

The PublicStuff Client Innovator Awards are granted to cities and towns that have found creative ways to use and promote PublicStuff in their communities. The winners exemplify the best in citizen engagement.  If you would like to nominate your city please email us at am@publicstuff.com with a description of how your city has been innovative with PublicStuff.

The PublicStuff T-Shirt Contest Is Here



Do you fancy yourself an artist? Well put down that glitter glue and macaroni because PublicStuff  needs you! We’re looking for an awesome design for the next PublicStuff t-shirt.

How do you enter?

Check out the design brief for all of the contest and design details. Entries can be sent to community@PublicStuff.com. All entries must be received by Thursday, September 12th by the end of the day.

The more creative the design the better, but it should represent PublicStuff and what we do. This shirt will be front and center for PublicStuff, so it must use a 100% original design.

What do you win?

In exchange for providing PublicStuff with a fabulous design beyond our wildest dreams you will receive:

3Doodler 3D Printing Pen



$200 AMEX Gift Card



5 shirts featuring your winning design


The Roundup: Mapping Everything


This week we bring you beautiful maps and data visualizations, illustrating everything from transportation to illegal activity. There is an increasing number of innovative tools available to designers, city planners and programmers. Couple these tools with the amount of data provided through the open data movement, and we can visualize everything we use, say, think and do in seamless and informative maps.

 The 3D visualizations of the London Underground and New York City Subway will make you see the beauty in the mundane and dreary. Check out Business Insider’s poll on how Americans feel about other States, and The Washington Post’s mapping of the different languages spoken at homes across the US. Already seen The New Yorker’s mapping of wealth distribution along the subway lines? Take a look at where the wealthiest New Yorkers live, and how it warps the Manhattan skyline according to artist Nickolay Lamm. Take a step back from all the interactive, 3D wonders and cherish this simple map from 1885 illustrating illegal activity in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

The Roundup: Are We Living In The Future?

With all the hype about Google’s latest Project Loon and Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, both of which were unveiled this week, could we really be living in the future? Add to our selection of gadgets and gizmos Tokyo’s smart billboards straight out of Minority Report. They modify their displays based on the gender and age of the viewer, pushing digital advertising even deeper into the Big Brother debate. And if you think smart glasses and smart billboards are futuristic, wait till you see London’s smart trash cans that pick up cellphone information of passersby! Now, with the Department of Transportation’s research into communication between vehicles to minimize road accidents, we are going to be left with very little that’s not smart.

The Untold Story of Google’s Quest to Bring the Internet Everywhere (Wired)

Could Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Derail High-Speed Rail? (GovTech)

Tokyo’s intelligent digital billboards can tell gender, age of passerby (SmartPlanet)

London’s Shutting Down Those Creepy, Phone-Tracking “Smart” Trash Cans (Gizmodo)

To Prevent Crashes, Your Future Car Will Chat With Other Vehicles (Wired)

Meet Our Summer Catalyst: ShiloGlass

Richard G jphotos 036

PublicStuff: Tell us a little bit about where you live.

ShiloGlass: I live in the beautiful seaside town of Oceanside California, known to have the longest pier in San Diego County. There are miles of sandy beaches, with lots to do, we are just north of San Diego. Which has Sea World, Balboa Park, Safari Animal Park, world famous San Diego Zoo, Scripps Institute of Oceanography Seaport Village, Maritime Museum featuring ships from famous movies, such as Pirates of Caribbean, Master and Commander, new submarine movie just filmed here, and the new Ron Burgundy movie filmed at Seaworld. The Midway aircraft carrier, deep sea fish excursions, best seafood around, Navy’s 5th fleet and Seal Team 6 that got Bin Laden.

PS: What’s something that we can see or do in your community that we couldn’t do anywhere else?

Shilo Glass: The Southern California Surf museum is here displaying hundreds of styles of surfboards some even ridden by the greats in surfing. We have a beautiful harbor with a lighthouse and boat rentals. Go whale watching, or rent a kayak to cruise the bay.

PS: Why do you report service requests?

Shilo Glass: We report our service requests to keep the city and surrounding areas free from anything that will bring down values and esthetics.

PS: How did you hear about PublicStuff?

Shilo Glass: I heard of Publicstuff through the city website and have been very pleased with the response of the service.

PS: Finally, what’s one fun fact about yourself that you would like to share with the PublicStuff community?

Shilo Glass: A fun fact about ourselves is that we do glass and pewter art on weekends.  We also participate in local showings.

The Roundup: Wearable Wonders


Instagram image by @dbabetta

To wear or not to wear? This is the dilemma we will soon be facing, as Google, healthcare giants and designers continue to develop these “wearable wonders” as Don Norman calls them. This week, we are taking a look at various perspectives on wearable technology; will it enhance our experiences and assist in efficiency, or will it prove to be just another form of interruption in our human relationships? Do we really need to have tracker-enhanced diapers for babies? Could personal health trackers be a lifesaver in countries with poor healthcare systems and management? If you still haven’t made up your mind, read the KETK article on our daily routine in 2015, complete with nano-tattoos and smart toothbrushes!

Don Norman on Wearable Devices (MIT Technology Review)

How will wearable tech change healthcare? Qualcomm Life backs new incubator to find out (Gigaom.com)

‘Smart diapers’ can detect UTIs, other health issues in young children (MedCity News)

Naysayers should look at the history of mobile to recognise wearable tech’s disruptive potential (The Guardian)

Bionic fashion: Wearable tech that will turn man into machine by 2015 (KETK)


Celebrating 100,000 Requests Closed

On July 17, 2013, we closed our 100,000th service request, #3015815 from Philadelphia. Since PublicStuff began implementing its civic communication system in over 200 cities, we have seen a steady rise in the number of people willing and eager to make a change in their communities. Armed with the right tools, citizens all over America have reported more than 100,000 issues to date. We have helped fix everything from overflowing garbage, to water leaks, broken sidewalks and, of course graffiti and potholes. We have some very happy residents! We assist our residents to make their voices heard by their cities, so they may work together to improve the communities they love. Our residents engage with their cities and eagerly await each update the city provides, and we are proud to be the vehicle for communication and action.

We’re highlighting ten of our favorite requests that demonstrate our citizens’ enthusiasm and pride in maintaining their neighborhoods. These residents go beyond submitting service requests and follow up on the issues’ progress with the city. The cities, as highlighted by these requests, make it a high priority to communicate with their residents and update them on the status of their requests. We are proud to be leading the charge in providing a new form of civic engagement and for local governments to reach their residents. Keep reporting those issues, and we’ll keep working to get stuff fixed, together.

Our 100,000th request #3015815

Philly resident, jimsinspace, reports illegal dumping in his neighborhood. A mere two days later Philly 311 takes out the trash. We’re looking forward to the next 100,000 requests and continuing our mission to get stuff fixed.

#98310 - Asheville, NC

Residents helping residents in Asheville, NC! A speed bump is requested to slow down traffic, but a neighbor informed him that the city installed stop signs instead. The City of Asheville offers to speak with the resident personally to provide more information on the city policy.

#96716 - Woodstock, GA

We have our civic advocates in Woodstock, GA! Residents exchanging information with each other and making changes happen together.

#123192 - Oceanside, CA

These fellow Oceanside residents came together to make sure the No Parking sign was re-installed securely and cleaned up by the city. Take a look at the before and after photos provided by the resident by clicking through.

#116195 – Elk Grove, CA

This damaged tennis net was reported, acknowledged and fixed in all of 8 days. Upon request by the PublicStuff Community team, this resident provided us with a great photo of the new tennis net, click through to see the results.

#131590 – Orange City, FL

Orange City has taken the time to explain their traffic safety plans to this concerned resident, complete with diagrams and long-term implementation plans. This is what we call a responsive city government!

#118798 – Tallahassee, FL

This happy Tallahassee resident thinks his city must be run by Ninjas, given their speedy response and repair of a massive pothole on the street. Despite the pothole being on a private street, the city took care of the issue within a record two days and kept the resident updated. Click through to see the Tallahassee Ninjas in action!

#102765 – Dormont, PA

Overflowing garbage is a major drag! The Borough of Dormont closed this request promptly with continuous updates. A prompt resolution to this olfactory issue.

#113357 – Philadelphia, PA

A blinking street light was keeping this Philadelphia resident up at night. The very next day the Streets Department repaired the light. We’re happy to report that the resident now sleeps soundly on his newly illuminated street!

#43807 – Plano, TX

Concerned with traffic safety near his home, this Plano resident requested the city to reinstall turn warning signs at the street corner. Well, here they are! We hope we can continue empowering residents to improve their neighborhoods.

#116629 – Daly City, CA

We love this Daly City request! The resident provides a series of photos until the litter is removed. See the entire series by clicking through.

This heat map represents every service request we have received. Red areas have particularly high concentrations of submitted requests. Is your city in a red zone?

This Week’s Roundup: Hashtags, Vinestagrams, And The CDC Talks Zombies

pixel zombie

This week we’re bringing you five stories about social media in government. With all the hype around open data and government transparency, local governments can learn more about putting tools such as Vine, Instagram and, the most puzzling of all, hashtags to better use! GovDelivery educates government officials on using hashtags on Facebook, and Twitter’s video baby – Vine –  to connect with residents and maybe even show them what a day in office looks like. GovLoop offers a step-by-step walkthrough of Instagram and provides protips on what governments can post in order to build and maintain a rich following. Want to find out how to prepare for the inevitable zombie apocalypse? Read about how the Center for Disease Control engaged and educated its followers on the origins of zombies and why they love to eat brains, among other important lessons.


In Twitter We Trust: 6 Unexpected Ways Government Is Experimenting With Social Media (Fast Company)


Facebook Has Hashtags! What This Means For Your Government Org (GovDelivery)


Vine: Government’s 6 Seconds To Shine (GovDelivery)


Instagram for InstaGovies (GovLoop)


5 (weird) ways government is experimenting with social media (Fortune Tech)