Municipality Apps in Canton Wallis

Canton Wallis, Fieschertal, Ernen, Saas Fee, Guttet-Feschel, Eischoll, switzerland
Smart governance

5 small municipalities in the German speaking part of the Canton Wallis introduced municipality apps of two types. One is rather a messenger system between the local authorities and the citizens including clearly determined services such as News, Places, Events, Infos, Autostop und Photo-Reporter (https://ultrastark.ch/megaphone#configurator) and the other is kind of a village facebook allowing users to group themselves around a multitude of specific topics of interest (https://www.crossiety.ch/).

Many citizens registered to the applications. The municipality applications were introduced right before the corona crisis and were fully operational during the whole crisis. They proved to be an excellent support for communication within a municipality. . The public administration could inform the citizens on specific measures, reglementations, postponed events etc. The citizens could give feedback, they could also interconnect each other to organise neighbourhood assistance for elderly people via the application. Furthermore the local business such as restaurants could be supported, eg. a restaurant introduced a meal delivery service for elderly people via the application, an offer that was beneficiary for both, the restaurant as well as the elderly people. Everybody was very happy about this additional communication channel
Applicable in rural, non city areas
Municipality
Youth, Elderly, Students, Active working people
spring 2020 ongoing

Implementation

Key conditions for success

There must be one responsible for the management of the app. In the best case this person has some advanced informatic competences. It is also worth to work together with other municipalities in one functional area in order to share costs, promote regional events together and work in an intermunicipal way. The promotion of the App in the municipality is key for success.

Key steps for activity implementation

- assessment of needs involving authorities, public administration, interested citizens. Eventually in cooperation with neighbouring municipalities - presentation of differents providers/offers - purchase, training and data integration - promotion of the App in the municipality

Dificulties encountered

The municipality application was introduced right before the corona crisis and was fully operational during the whole crisis. The filling in of information is quite some work for the public administration but once done a lot of duplication work is avoided since different interfaces with website of the municipality, tourist providers, tourist promotion, artisans, associations etc. are automatically provided with data and updated. The There must be one responsible for the management of the app. It is worth to work together with other municipalities in one functional area in order to share costs, promote regional events together and work in an intermunicipal way.

Resources needed

The costs for purchasing and installing the apps are not negigable. However in the case of megaphone, several municipalities can join under an umbrella platform so that a yearly licence costs around 1000 Euros for a municipality of around 600 inhabitants. Crossiety is more expensive. It has a fix cost component (role out) and a component related to the number of people living in the municipality. Furthermore the municipality administration must invest some time for data integration and interfaces. However at the end time is gained because information has only to be fed in once and afterwards all other channels are automatically updated (eg. website of municipality, local tourist promotion agency, website of different associations, newsletters, municipality journal etc.).

Would you like to know more?

Visit the website of the project for more details or contact the author

Swiss Center for Mountain Regions (SAB)

Peter Niederer

0041313821010