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Innovative service delivery monitoring tool is finalist in the Better Living Challenge

It is no secret that communities in Cape Town’s informal settlements live in harsh conditions, where rapid urban growth causes major challenges for basic service delivery. Toilets, taps and street lights are often broken or do not get adequately maintained due to a lack of supervision of city contractors. This leads to a situation where the municipality is often not aware of damaged facilities. Access to hotlines offered by the City has proven difficult.

Local specialist design agency, Formula D interactive’s Cityspec tool, developed in partnership with The Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) project, addresses these problems through an innovative community driven reporting system using mobile technology. The prototype has been selected as a finalist in the Better Living Challenge a collaborative project between the public and private sector, and civil society to uncover solutions and ideas to improve the lives and homes of people living in low-income areas.

“With the Cityspec software tool, community workers in Khayelitsha can log reports straight to a central database, a process which was previously done with notepad, pen and paper”, says Iris Taani, who is responsible for the project at VPUU.“The system gives users access to parts lists with reference drawings to describe possible faults as precisely as possible. Workers can also take photos and log GPS data, which is crucial.”

Cityspec also provides a web based control centre for coordinators to create and track tasks for specific workers, inspection items and areas. Ultimately, the system generates data for reports needed by the city to action immediate remedial work.

The Cityspec project is one of 23 finalists from 130 entries and may win one of three grand prizes that each consist of half a million rand’s worth of support services to further develop the best concepts.

“We are extremely happy to be a finalist”, says Michael Wolf, CEO of Formula D interactive. “The award would give us access to resources of the value of R 500,000. It is an important project and we believe it can make a difference to the lives of people living in informal settlements.”

Cityspec will be one of the interactive displays on show at the Better Living Challenge Showcase at the Cape Town Station Forecourt.

The interactive event will be officially opened by Premier Helen Zille on 28 October and will run to 8 November, 2014.

Image 1: CityspecMobile Inspection Tool to improve service delivery in small income areas.
Image 2: Lead designer on the project Ivan Pecorari with VPUU workers in the field testing the Cityspec tool 

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