A Taxonomy of Urban Ills

What could go wrong?Part of my week includes contract work locating and documenting APIs to be listed on ProgrammableWeb.com. In the course of that adventure, I stumbled upon an API that had been created by the government of the city of London (England, not Ontario, eh) as part of a now-defunct municipal portal. I don’t know what happened to the portal, but the API still is supported, as far as I can tell. It’s a pretty nifty function where an app can submit a trouble report of any sort to the government, and it gets routed to the proper authority to intervene based on the nature of the complaint. Nice bit of government service, there!

As I read the downloadable documentation to complete my profile, I reviewed the long list of complaint types that the API supports, from overgrown weeds on the neighbor’s property to thugs brawling in the street. It struck me that the creators of this API had developed a rather complete taxonomy of the problems a citizen might encounter in city life, including narrower terms for some of the main entries. Quite the little civic artifact!