The Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) has introduced its new beautification program to address quality-of-life concerns in Isla Vista. Since its launch on Mar. 31, residents of the densely populated college town have been able to report on issues such as graffiti, vandalism, and lighting through the free mobile app, SeeClickFix.
IVCSD responds to reported issues by sending workers out to fix the problems or forwarding them to the county. Residents are also able to send reports via the IVCSD’s website.
IVCSD is collaborating with United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County to run the beautification program and has hired people who are either veterans or members of the Isla Vista homeless community to repair damages in Isla Vista.
Jonathan Abboud, the General Manager of IVCSD, told The Bottom Line that hiring members of the I.V. homeless community fulfills two purposes: allowing these individuals to gain work experience while also taking care of the community.
Currently, the app collects data on service requests for issues in Isla Vista, but IVCSD is hoping to expand work orders to issues like uneven sidewalks and potholes as well as to on-campus concerns.
The SeeClickFix app is the tool behind the program that allows anyone to report on issues in Isla Vista that could be beautified. Abboud said IVCSD is split up into two teams with one focused on fixing the issues and the other one directed at identifying the problems to be reported and repaired.
“This is the first week of the program officially operating and so far it is going really well,” Abboud said.
The app displays the reported issues in both list form and on an interactive map with location pins of varying colors, showing which problems have been resolved and which ones are still being worked on.
Users have the option of attaching photos and videos to their reports as well as upvoting and replying to others’ posts; an IVCSD official acknowledges original posts to ensure the problem is fixed. There is also a desktop version of the app that works similarly to the mobile platform.
IVCSD sends workers out on Tuesdays and Thursdays to fix issues, and, if the reports are outside of their department, forward those requests to the correct agency. Abboud mentioned that thus far, the program has run smoothly with no surprising or negative occurrences.
He said, “we want to make sure to get the word out to download the app as much as possible. The app is versatile and… we want to add features of it to our homepage such as a button that calls a CSO so no one has to remember the number.”
In planning for the future, Abboud said that IVCSD is currently focusing on working out the kinks of the pilot program, developing a long-term version of it, and connecting the app with other resources.
Abboud said they are hoping to do more “concerted days of service like a mass collection of data… and more targeted efforts with the app.” This would bring members of the community together through activities like lighting walks and checking for uneven sidewalks while advancing the creative functions of the app.
He concluded by saying that the app enhances “user technology through a social justice and humane lens by giving work experience to those in the community who have less while making Isla Vista look good.”