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We have all seen things in our neighborhoods and communities that need to change. From the yield sign that should be a stop sign, or the flashing safety crosswalk that has yet to be constructed – all of us can find elements to improve the safety and friendliness of our growing city; but we may also find the existing systems for change complicated, cumbersome, or just plain inconvenient. VocalLocal will be an online platform that utilizes a voting system and a locality search function to allow community members to start and participate in conversations about a proposed change or idea in their community. VocalLocal’s website will allow a user to search by locality (where they live, work or play) and to start or comment upon, as well as vote for, a proposed change. Members can rally behind a particular initiative by voting (similar to signing a petition). This interactive, online format gives community members the opportunity to participate in the local conversation from their laptops, computers or cell phones while also experiencing viewpoints on these subjects from friends, neighbors, and other community members that they may not have otherwise heard. Through the voting system, VocalLocal will tally support (or opposition) related to a particular subject and the local community site managers will present it to the city council or decision-making body on behalf of the users of the site. VocalLocal will track the progress of legislation and community changes proposed on its website as well as those ideas presented within our local city council and other municipal meetings so that users can weigh in on everything that impacts their locality from the same place and in an easy-to-access format that gets them excited about community participation. VocalLocal wants to make the power to promote positive change in the community something that people can do from their own homes or mobile devices. We see the ability for something wonderful to grow and a new place and way for people to connect to be born. We will launch and operate VocalLocal right here in Richmond, Virginia and hope to grow this RVA-bred idea to other communities and localities around the country.

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