Technology can spur economic and societal change. It can be the catalyst to a truly developed community. This is why experts have been calling on local executives to use technology in building their communities. It will also open opportunities for the citizens and improve the social services available in the municipalities. The role of technology in the community must be to give voice to the voiceless, to empower the weak, and to throw the doors wide open for those who seek change. It must enable the citizens to create a better world for themselves, their families, and the generations to follow.
The widespread use of technology has already improved many areas of the community. However, what most local executives forget is to make the citizens aware of the benefits of using technology in the community. Executives have to be savvy with the way they advertise the various modern processes in their governance. The older population in the community needs to understand that technology isn’t there to take away jobs and disrupt order. Rather, it is there to improve procedures and strengthen competencies.
Communities as Tech Providers
One of the first things that communities have to do is take in the responsibility of improving the tech infrastructures in their area. They need to invest in broadband services so that they are directly involved in providing affordable internet access to citizens. The service should be at high speed so it will attract other tech startups to invest in the community and create jobs for all.
The community should also be responsible for helping these tech startups develop their brands. They should embrace the market into their fold by partnering with technology public relations companies in creating strategies. These strategies will make people more aware of the presence of these tech companies and the infrastructure that has made possible such investments.
Technology in Participatory Governance
In the past, cities will use websites to inform their citizens about new policies and processes. They share ideas without knowing what the public’s perception is. With the advent of technology, cities and municipalities are moving to the next phase of governance—the public’s participation. Local leaders use websites, apps, tools, and social media to get to know what their constituents want.
They encourage people to voice out their opinions about policies and advocacy. This helps local executives understand the needs of the citizenry. More so, it opens the doors of communication between the local executives and the community members they hope to serve.
Technology as Progress Tracker
Technology helps makes sense of the data that municipalities collect. This can identify problems, develop solutions, and track the effectiveness of these solutions. Not only does technology help in data gathering and data analysis, but it also helps in organizing the community to speak up about issues that impact their lives and livelihoods. From the mundane to the serious, community members are empowered to let their voices be heard because they know someone is going to listen.
But big data, of course, can be hard to decipher. Communities should make use of different tools and apps to track problems and monitor the progress of the interventions proposed. Data will enable local executives to come up with effective policy solutions that have the public’s support.
Technology as an Advertisement Tool
No community is an island. Communities cannot survive on the back of their members alone. They need new people, whether permanent or tourists. Technology will help them advertise their assets. It will allow them to reach out to potential new residents and tourists. Every municipality should have a website to advertise what tourists can find there. Is your community an industrial one where people can find new and better jobs? Is it a coastal town? Do you have beachfront properties that can be a haven for retirees?
When people visit the community site, they should see photos, blogs, and information about the municipality. It should help them make the decision of visiting or even staying there permanently. The more people you attract, the more improvement you will see in the community.
Technology and its relationship with communities have come a long way. From previously being used as a way to inform the citizenry, it is now central to the development and empowerment of society. Communities that do not take advantage of these benefits will scramble to compete with others. More so, its people will have a harder time grabbing opportunities. They will start leaving their towns and cities in hopes of greener pasture somewhere else. This, of course, has a profound impact on the community.