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How Civic Tech Got a Pandemic Upgrade

  • 11 days ago

Cyd Harrell was driving through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on a chilly day in June 2011, when her seven-year-old daughter asked why the sprinklers were on. It was a waste of water, she said, and they had to do something.

“You can’t say no to your kid,” Harrell says. “But I had no idea at that time who I would call about that.”

So she tweeted the city’s 311 line, for reporting non-emergency situations. Shortly after, the sprinklers were turned off.

The process was fascinating, Harrell recalls — not knowing exactly who to contact but still having everything work out in the end. Now, 11 years later, she’s on a mission to scale that to the whole city.

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