New Grand Rapids 311 Mobile Application Reports City Nuisances

Grand Rapids Press Article

(note: search for “Grand Rapids 311” in Android marketplace)

City of Grand Rapids Deploys MyGRCity311 Mobile Application for Customer Service

City of Grand Rapids Information Technology Director Paul Klimas demonstrated the City’s new mobile application for iPhone and Android Smartphones at a meeting of the Grand Rapids City Commission Tuesday.

The new GRCity311 makes it possible for anyone with an iPhone or Android Smartphone to report pot holes, graffiti, street light problems, and a wide range of other issues from anywhere in the City’s service area. Reports are submitted directly into the City’s Citizen Request Management systems and integrate with the operations work management solutions, giving city workers the information they need to fix the problem quickly. Citizens receive a ticket number allowing them to track progress and receive notice when the reported matter is resolved.

Grand Rapids has had great success with web-based solutions. City residents take great pride in area neighborhoods and businesses. GRCity311 empowers the Grand Rapids community to become the eyes and ears of the city.

The application can be downloaded from the Android Market Place and the iPhone App Store.

Demand for standard-issue suburban housing is going down, not up

The Next Real Estate Boom

Christopher B. Leinberger, Patrick C. Doherty, Director, Smart Strategy Initiative, New America Foundation

Washington Monthly

Full article here


We’re unlikely, however, to see a real estate recovery based on a continuation of the type of development that has driven the industry for the past few generations: low-density, car-dependent suburbs growing out of cornfields at the edge of metropolitan areas. That’s because there is now a massive oversupply of such suburban fringe development, brought on by decades of policy favoring it—including heavy government subsidies for extending roads, sewers, and utilities into undeveloped land. Houses on the exurban fringe of several large metro areas have typically lost more than twice as much value as metro areas as a whole since the mid-decade peak. Many of those homes are now priced below the cost of the materials that went into building them, which means that their owners have no financial incentive to invest in their upkeep. Under such conditions, whole neighborhoods swiftly decline and turn into slums. This happened in many inner-city neighborhoods in the 1960s, and we’re seeing evidence of it in many exurban neighborhoods today. The Los Angeles Times reports that in one gated community in Hemet, east of L.A., McMansions with granite countertops and vaulted ceilings are being rented to poor families on Section 8 vouchers; according to the Washington Examiner, similar homes in Germantown, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C., are being converted to boarding houses.

Many hope that when the economy recovers, demand will pick up, inventories of empty homes will be whittled down, and the traditional suburban development machine will lumber back to life. But don’t bet on it. Demand for standard-issue suburban housing is going down, not up, a trend that was apparent even before the crash. In 2006, Arthur C. Nelson, now at the University of Utah, estimated in the Journal of the American Planning Association that there will be 22 million unwanted large-lot suburban homes by 2025.