Citicafe: An interactive interface for citizen engagement
Community engagement is a new and emerging trend in urban cities driven by the mission of developing responsible citizenship. Technology is playing a vital role in helping this mission. For example, over the last couple of years, there have been a plethora of social media avenues to report civic issues and complaints. We present one such contribution of technology, in terms of an intelligent platform, "Citicafe". The platform has a conversation based interface that enhances citizen engagement by enabling a direct communication with them. The platform ingests data from different sources, which is exploited by a virtual agent to enable informed interactions. It can help citizens to (a) report problems and (b) gather information related to civic issues for different locations and their neighborhoods. We report the results of a user study carried out to establish the effectiveness of our interface and draw a comparison with an existing platform. A detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis of the survey results shows a definite and statistically significant (p < 0.05) preference for our interface over the existing platform.