Community is hard to quantify, but MGI surveyed urban residents to determine if digital channels for communicating with local officials as well as digital platforms that facilitate real-world interactions (such as Meetup and Nextdoor) can have an impact. The analysis suggests that using these types of applications could nearly double the share of residents who feel connected to the local community, and nearly triple the share who feel connected to local government.

Establishing channels for two-way communication between the public and local agencies could make city governments more responsive. Many city agencies maintain an active presence on social networks, and others have developed their own interactive citizen Apps. In addition to disseminating information, these channels create vehicles for residents to report concerns, collect data, or weigh in on planning issues. Paris & Madrid have implemented participatory budgets, inviting anyone to post project ideas and then holding online votes to decide which ones merit funding.

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