Use Cases

ZenCity transforms highly qualitative data into quantitative metrics. Using our platform, you can enhance performance management by accessing wide-scale citizen feedback and by tracking specific city actions, policy initiatives, events, and more. ZenCity’s analysis acts as a metrics platform, providing a means by which you can measure the effectiveness and progress of different city projects.

Car-Sharing Initiative Use Case:

One of the larger cities we work with implemented an extensive, city-wide car sharing program, which was met by a significant amount of criticism and controversy. Using our classification engine, the city could easily carve out conversations about the program, and by looking at keyword clustering, see that most of the criticism was centered around the parking spaces utilized by the shared cars. In fact, more than 70% of the mentions of the project were negative and addressed parking.

As a first step, the city used this data to modify policy and address parking concerns. Utilizing ZenCity’s project view feature, the city has since been able to identify all of the elements of the city affected by the specific initiative. Additionally, the city is now measuring satisfaction with the program over time, mostly focusing on whether or not negativity decreases. Moreover, the city can continue to easily see which issues with the car-sharing program are causing higher levels of divisiveness and negative public perception. As the city tackles different critiques to the new initiative, it can, in response, measure if its updates are helping change the receptivity of the car-sharing program over-all.

 

Little League Use Case:

One of the cities we work with decided to divest a program for children’s sports because they wanted to repurpose the land the sports teams were using. Using the ZenCity platform, the city tracked sentiment on social media after it announced the plan and found out that feedback around the plan differed by neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods were less concerned, but one in particular responded very negatively. Based on this data, the city decided to keep the program in that specific neighborhood, and repurpose land in a different part of the city instead.

 

ZenCity’s up-to-the-minute insights allow you to easily recognize trends as they happen in real-time so you can stay proactive. We enable you to know what’s happening in your city at any given time, and our notification system will keep you updated on trending topics and conversations. Being on notice in the present allows you to proactively respond to evolving citizen discourse and to specific incidents as they arise.

Crisis-Management Use Case:

One of the cities we work with was faced with a major crisis when a construction crane collapsed in the highly populated city-center. The situation demanded an immediate shut down of the surrounding streets in order to properly address safety concerns, resulting in challenges such as traffic congestion, confusion and significant citizen speculation. The city was faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the streets closed or risk re-opening the quarantined area in order to minimize citizen complaints regarding the “shut down.”

Using the ZenCity platform in real-time, the city was able to understand that, contrary to their assumption, citizens actually wanted the streets to stay closed. They were willing to endure heavy traffic in return for the feeling of safety the shut-down provided. City decision-makers were able to watch discussions on the subject unfold in real-time in growing numbers. Following the shut-down, the city tracked positive feedback from the citizens regarding how the city handled the situation.

 

Crisis Management Use Case:

A Police Department reported that ZenCity’s real-time alerts notified the department of a sharp increase in discussion on public safety and “murder,” completely catching the officers off guard. When looking at the discussion, the PD realized that an unfortunate incident, in which a man fell off a main highway bridge, was being mistakenly perceived as a murder.

The communication director was able to respond in real-time, immediately issuing a press release regarding the accident in order to quell the growing fear in the community and correct the misinformation circulating. The PD then continued to track discourse on ZenCity, where the platform showed a significant decrease in discussion on murder and a major sentiment improvement. The city succeeded in addressing the issue before it escalated, responded tactically, and then tracked the effectiveness of its response.

Responding to 311 Requests Use Case:

One of the cities we work with identified it had a routing problem in its customer service center (311), where requests being submitted via phone and online form were being forwarded to the wrong city department. Such errors typically were a result of human error, resulting in or reported issues being addressed with a delay, causing longer wait times for citizens and costing the city in dollar value.
ZenCity built the city a customized model based on our AI classification algorithm. This model automatically recognizes the right department to which a 311 request should be forwarded and has already improved routing by more than 12 percent, decreasing the error rate from over 20 percent to under 10 percent, and improving service response rates.

Identifying + Addressing Issue Areas in the City Use Case:

When a city we work with deployed ZenCity’s core platform the first time, the leading topic receiving negative feedback (both in terms of volume and in terms of positive-negative ratio) was waste management. When the city drilled down on the subject, based on a keyword analysis of social media and city service requests, the main problem was immediately evident: citizens were angry with where garbage collection services were placing bins after they had collected the trash.
Using ZenCity’s analytical software, a report was generated that included topic analysis, sentiment analysis and keyword extraction. The consequent insights enabled the city to identify a core problem in it’s waste management process. By addressing the root problem it was made aware of using ZenCity, the city was able to solve the exact issue frustrating citizens almost immediately by sharing the data with the contractor in charge of garbage collection. Within a couple of weeks, the volume of calls to 311 dropped by more than 30% and sentiment around waste management became predominantly positive rather than negative.

ZenCity’s technology enables you to aggregate and analyze information over time, providing both topic-centric and general “big picture” views of your city for data-driven planning and long-term decision making. Data-smart governance can help you allocate resources more effectively and more efficiently, increasing public trust as a by-product.

Development Project Use Case:

One of the cities we work with was faced with a major crisis when a construction crane collapsed in the highly populated city-center. The situation demanded an immediate shut down of the surrounding streets in order to properly address safety concerns, resulting in challenges such as traffic congestion, confusion and significant citizen speculation. The city was faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the streets closed or risk re-opening the quarantined area in order to minimize citizen complaints regarding the “shut down.”

Using the ZenCity platform in real-time, the city was able to understand that, contrary to their assumption, citizens actually wanted the streets to stay closed. They were willing to endure heavy traffic in return for the feeling of safety the shut-down provided. City decision-makers were able to watch discussions on the subject unfold in real-time in growing numbers. Following the shut-down, the city tracked positive feedback from the citizens regarding how the city handled the situation.

 

Crisis Management Use Case:

Several cities that work with us have major, multi-phase development projects underway that will span over the course of a number of years. These cities are organizing and following citizen discourse and sentiment on the specific development projects and utilizing this information to strategize the different phases and prioritize between project elements and limited city resources.

In one of our cities, city management learned that citizens were most concerned about the impact of their development project on four main topics, and they also learned how concerned they were about each topic using our scoring technology. In descending order, citizens were concerned with the impact on schools, pollution, housing, and private transportation. This insight has helped the city shape planning decisions and relate to what citizens truly want to see in the future. It has also enabled the city to communicate more effectively about the development project with residents, addressing the specific concerns they are raising. ZenCity’s data and analysis has given the city a significant volume of input from a diverse sample of citizens, and has also provided feedback in real-time as the project unfolds.

Budgeting for Sidewalk Maintenance Use Case:

One of the suburbs that we work with had a budget of several million dollars to renovate its sidewalks and began outlining a plan to re-cement cracks in the city’s pavement. Prior to spending the budget, the city generated a report through our platform to see citizen feedback about sidewalk maintenance. The report automatically extracted all conversations on the topic, showing that sentiment regarding the state of sidewalks in the city was overwhelmingly negative. The main issue, identified through clustering, was not cracked pavement, but actually sidewalks being blocked by double parked cars and misplaced trash bins.
Using ZenCity’s insights, the city shifted the majority of the budget originally allocated towards sidewalk paving to clearing out sidewalks, generating positive feedback for the city and saving the city significant financial resources.

ZenCity lets you have your finger on the pulse of the city and enables you to continuously monitor and respond to citizen feedback and concerns, Through the ZenCity dashboard, you can reach data directly at its source, and if it’s your style, spark and contribute to the conversation on relevant platforms. This effectively allows you to extend your reach to your residents and meet them where they are at the touch of a button. Additionally, ZenCity’s tools also enable you to derive exponential value from more traditional citizen engagement methodologies like surveys and town hall meetings by helping you to shape content and communication styles, making these engagement tools even more effective.

Citizen Engagement Use Case:

One of our mayors regularly visits the ZenCity platform before neighborhood meetups. He uses the platform to filter ZenCity’s insights by neighborhood, using ZenCity geolocation technology, which maps which topics are the most important by neighborhood or district, and which topics are being discussed where. Then, when meeting residents face to face, the Mayor and his team are prepared to address residents based on what the residents themselves want to discuss. As a result, town halls are more productive and the Mayor is able to engage with his community in meaningful discourse.

Increasing Public Trust Use Case:

ZenCity’s platform is being used by a local Police Department to detect unreported crimes in direct response to citizen complaints. The Police Department felt that there was a lack of trust between the police force and its citizens, due to consistent complaints that police officers were failing to follow up on reports, specifically of car break-ins. In response, the PD is now using ZenCity’s platform to validate this theory by monitoring discussions on social media where residents complain about police “ineffectiveness,” and matching these discussions with actual reports. Once the data has been collected and patterns emerge, the Police Department will be able to take next steps either directly to increase public trust through certain initiatives if they are in fact following up on reports, or to implement internal protocols to ensure officers are fulfilling their duties correctly.