Calgary has an opportunity to be the first city in the world to introduce a new kind of infrastructure, one that could radically improve how citizens, government and business connect and coordinate services.
The new infrastructure is a digital communication network that provides a digital address to all buildings and lots. Similar to a social network each unique building and lot has a unique profile with only limited public information. Once you connect to the property via a relationship, you gain additional access to data and communication.
For example, if you could look up your home address and request to connect as "Owner" or "Occupant". Once you have verified (via one of the optional methods) you can now see and manage all connected services to the property from the government and private providers.
What this does is give people the ability to use their real-world relationships to a property to gain digital communication and coordination permissions. Everything from being able to send a digital message to a neighbour based on their house number (you know their name but not their contact details), to coordinating services from insurance to lawn mowing. You could even be directly connected to all your different levels of government with real-time chat and so much more.
As a form of infrastructure, the city is responsible for controlling the addressing in the network to ensure homes are unique. They also dictate the formal connection types available to each property such as Owner, Occupant, Vendor, Government administration and so on.
The fact we can't do something as simple as sending a digital message to a physical address in 2018 is kind of crazy. Using this type of system enables a vast number of new possibilities while also having a lot of security and controls to protect privacy and avoid abuse of the system. For example, users control if they get unsolicited mail but could set options like only verified owners/occupants of properties in a defined distance can message them, or only government agencies.
This is one of those ideas where if you can see far enough out you see how it will be implemented everywhere in the world. Let's be the first city to do it! Let's understand the limitations and design for them but don't let them hold us back. Let's fight for the possibilities and make this happen!