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​Apps allowing residents to report urban issues prove effective in Saigon districts

​Apps allowing residents to report urban issues prove effective in Saigon districts

Friday, September 14, 2018, 11:39 GMT+7

Administrators in two districts in Ho Chi Minh City have seen the potential of handling urban disorders, such as street vendors who occupy the sidewalks for their business, in a whole new way via mobile app, and local citizens love it too.

Few people could imagine Ho Chi Minh City’s suburban areas like District 9 and Nha Be District would be ahead of the curve in the utilization of technological innovation in municipal administration. But they are.

Authorities in these two districts have launched two separate apps, “Nha Be Online” and “District 9 Online,” allowing residents to snap photos of issues in their neighborhoods and report them to the local watchdogs.

Authorities promise to handle complaints made via these apps on such violations of urban order as blocking the sidewalks and littering within 120 minutes.

The “Nha Be Online” also features another useful function -- enabling citizens to easily look up district-wide urban planning on the platform, according to Lam Nhat Tu, deputy chief of the district’s People's Committee.

Effective reporting channel

Around 6:00pm on August 10, L.D.C. captured a drinking store at 464 Le Van Viet Street, Tang Nhon Phu A Ward, District 9 putting its standing signboard all over the sidewalk.

What’s worse is that smoke and smell from grilling meat stemming from this shop also flocked into nearby households, not only polluting the environment, but also affecting the health of children.

The photo, along with L.D.C.’s complaint, was uploaded to the "District 9 online" app.

Only more than 20 minutes later, the urban order managers of Tang Nhon Phu A Ward appeared at the location to remind and warned the shop owner of a fine if the violations continue.

Likewise, at 5:30 pm on September 6, T.V.P. filmed a clip of street vendors blocking all over the road, causing slow traffic in La Xuan Oai Street, Long Truong Ward in District 9.

It only took the functional force of Long Truong Ward over 30 minutes after receiving P.’s complaint through the “District 9 Online” app to be present at the venue to sanction the street-occupiers.

Since the presence of “District 9 online,” Do Xuan Hop Street and Street 339, which were previously rampant by street vendors, have been less occupied, according to Le Thanh Tri, a resident in Phuoc Long B Ward.

“Previously, people were often held back whenever they wanted to report neighborhood nuisances, now this app gives us such an effective way [for complaint],” Tri said.

A screenshot of the District 9 Online app on Apple Store.
A screenshot of the District 9 Online app on Apple Store.

Transparent process

According to Hoang Minh Tuan Anh, deputy chairman of District 9, the situation of road encroachment keeps repeated in many wards, ruining the urban aesthetic, despite different solutions to ensure urban order from local authorities.

However, everything has changed after “District 9 Online” was put into use.

The ward leaders were able to interact directly with local people, thereby quickly dealing with violations to restore and ensure the urban order, said Anh.

District 9 administrators has so far received and processed more than 500 complaints, which are mostly about urban disorder, space occupying, unlicensed leveling and construction, from residents through the month-long introduction of the complaint-filing app.

 “The development and implementation of ‘District 9 Online’ aims to create favorable conditions for people to oversee and report about urban order,” said Anh.

“All complaints filed through the app will be double-checked by the ward leaders to be promptly dealt with, and the users will also be informed of this checking process and results via the app,” the deputy chairman explained.

The biggest strength of the app, according to Anh, is that all processes from receiving reports, handling and updating results are made online, thus keeping all involved parties anonymous to the accused, while the ward and district leaders are thoroughly informed.

It is said that urban management watchdogs tend to go easy on certain cases due to relations with the accused ones or their excuses.

“Now the handling of violations is transparent, so hopefully such toothless handling of urban issues will be stopped,” he said.

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News


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