Tech

NYC Mayor Bloomberg signs The Big Apple up with Nextdoor to take on crime

By Michael Mayday , Jun 14, 2013 06:39 PM EDT

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to sign up the city of Manhattan onto the neighborhood-oriented social network Nextdoor.

The agreement is aimed at facilitating better communications between New York city government and New York City citizens. Bloomberg said he hopes the social network will be widely adopted among Big Apple residents, saying the application will help to inform residents of local events, neighborhood safety tips and natural disasters. 

"Partnering with Nextdoor is another step forward in our adoption of strategic technology that better serves New Yorkers," Bloomberg said in a prepared statement. "Nextdoor gives New York neighbors an easy way to connect and communicate with those who live around them. It also provides the City with a direct line of communication to residents about important and often critical updates."

According to TechCrunch, no money was exchanged in the deal. 

Nextdoor, which launched in 2011, is built around the premise of building social networks only available to local neighborhoods. As a part of the New York City deal the California-based network will, according to Wired, hire eight to 11 field organizers to better integrate Nextdoor into New York and to raise awareness about the network throughout the city.

Getting citizens on Nextdoor is no small matter. While the networks provides an easier way for the city to communicate to its residents, its efficacy is entirely dependent on how many users sign up for the service. And as Gizmodo's Adam Estes notes, the adoption of Nextdoor prior to the New York City deal may signal a weak network. Whether or not the city will help promote Nextdoor remains to be seen, though New York's government doesn't have a particularly good relationship with other San Francisco startups like Uber and Airbnb.

"Silicon Valley has typically gone around government versus embracing and collaborating with government," Tolia said in an interview with Wired. "The trend has been, let's just go outside the regulation. But I think Nextdoor has an interesting opportunity to work hand in hand with, and to sort of accelerate, in a very collaborative way, versus disrupt ... city governments, municipal governments, city services, and residents."

Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia said he hopes New York will be able to use to application to inform residents of variety of situations going on in a city - from power outages to traffic accidents. New York officials will also be able to send out urgent notices to residents through text messages and start and respond to local discussions, though they won't be able to see discussions which are only between neighbors.

Nextdoor operates in 120 other cities across the country, including San Jose, Calif., and Austin, Texas. New York City is Nextdoor's biggest partner yet.

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