Crime and real estate might look like odd bedfellows. Builders and homeowners try to stay as far as possible from crime-ridden, dilapidated neighborhoods.
There is, however, a new way out of the poverty and crime traps, and it is already on the same smart phones that visitors use to avoid bad neighborhoods.
How about using an App to find a plumber or an electrician in the neighboring slums, meet and know "who's who" among the neighbor and offer or get reliable services as easily and safely as hailing an UBER car?
This App is already in the works in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in one of the most crime-ridden, sprawling shanty towns located just two blocks away from the president's office -the Casa Rosada- and the ritziest high-end district of the city, the 7,000 USD-a-square-feet towers of Puerto Madero.
Inner city ghettos and shanty towns scare employers and good jobs away, perpetuating a "race to the bottom" that devastates neighborhoods and provokes decline.SLXL
In New York, Apps like Citizens help reduce crime and increase security. The Systemic Innovation Lab (SIL) proposed by the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires (ITBA) takes this concept a step forward.
The Vecinos (Neighbors) App combines security and transparency with a "Uber-like" open market for helping connect Villa 31bis slum and adjacent , prosperous neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
Thanks to the Neihbors/Vecinos App, Villa 31 neighbors can offer services to adjacent neighborhoods. This positive step makes it more secure, attracting visitors and reducing "blind spots" that attract crime.
The ubiquity and dissemination of smart phones -more than 70 percent of slum dwellers use them- also makes possible access to new skills and competencies through mobile learning (m-learning).
For example, 12-week "coding boot camps" developed in collaboration with National Association of Community Colleges Entrepreneurship-NACCE- ‘specialists can help unemployed or underemployed neighbors in Villa 31bis shantytown gain competencies for 21st century jobs "leapfrogging" obsolete know-how and dead-end jobs.
Smart phone Apps can help urban planners work with city dwellers in redesign their neighborhoods and transform urban blight into urban light. Designers and neighbors can work together to build livable spaces and avoiding what Jane Jacobs called "vertical ghettos
Marsha Simon and Tessa Steenkamp developed and tested such tools in Amsterdam and are collaborating with SIL through the Futurizer network.
Slums dwellers in Colon City Panama participated in rebuilding the old city -filled with squatters and plagued with drugs and gangs- through a new, creative approach called "City Doctors".
Thanks to this new concept, Colon created 15,000 new jobs and reduced crime dramatically.Apps like Neighbors can also help Colon City reduce crime and increase connections between residents and visitors.
Social technology and social media can be combined to maximize and accelerate social impact.
Learn more about it.