Public Space Cleanliness
What can the municipality do to change the residents' behavior and transform Beer Sheva into a cleaner city?
Why address the issue of cleanliness in the public space?
Cleanliness in the public space is an issue that concerns many local and municipal authorities, both in Israel and around the world, and is a significant contributing factor to residents' satisfaction with their city or town.
Analysis of the 2018 CBS Social Survey reveals a positive correlation between residents' satisfaction and a higher level of cleanliness, with lower levels of cleanliness resulting in decreased resident satisfaction.
A survey conducted among a representative sample population of 1500 residents found that approximately 70% of them expressed concern about the level of litter on a day-to-day basis. Only a quarter of Beer Sheva's residents are satisfied with the state of cleanliness in the city and 35% expressed dissatisfaction with the level of cleanliness in the area around their homes and neighborhood. In other words, cleanliness, or lack of it, in the public domain is a significant part of life in the city and of its residents' daily routine.
The issue of cleanliness also arouses strong feelings. Social media discussions and calls to the municipal hotline are mainly negative in nature and express frustration and reciprocal blame among the residents themselves and between them and City Hall.
A further examination of social media discussion revealed that the residents perceive themselves and the municipality to be equally responsible for dealing with litter and related hazards.
Another problem identified is that although many municipal projects promote city cleanliness, they operate separately from each other, thereby creating a lack of coordination and preventing an inclusive process that could optimize and leverage their impact.
And yet, the state of cleanliness in the city is still unsatisfactory
The feeling among residents and municipal employees is that a "garbage cycle" has been created that prevents a practical change on the ground. Garbage accumulates throughout the city, the municipality clean it up, the residents litter again, the municipality invests increasingly more resources to clean it up, and yet, the city's cleanliness remains at an unsatisfactory level.
An example of a private property before it was cleaned by the city hall and after.
So how can this "garbage cycle" be broken?
We understood that a change in the residents' role in addressing the cleanliness problem was necessary in order to break the "garbage cycle" and alter the current situation.
In other words, City Hall has a two-fold responsibility: alongside a concern for the physical and infrastructural aspects of the city's cleanliness, it must also endeavor to bring about a change in the residents' behavior and to increase their sense of responsibility via education, public relations, and enforcement.
We consequently focused the challenge with the following question:
What can the municipality do to change the residents' behavior and transform Beer Sheva
into a cleaner city?
Our work combines use of human centered design methodology and is conducted in five stages. Read more about the different stages on the Methodology Page.
Researching the Challenge
In-depth interviews with 50 residents
from different population, age groups and neighborhoods around the city in order to formulate the study's insights.
interviews with municipal employees at different levels
helped us understand the way in which City Hall operates to maintain cleanliness and enabled us to build a joint process together with the different parties that will leads to its future implementation.
The study framework included a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods together with literature and field study.
The study included:
Observations and tours of different focal points throughout Beer Sheva
in order to attain an in-depth view of the city's clean and dirty areas.
Analysis of discussion on social media
using the Zencity system we performed a comprehensive analysis of thousands of social media comments and reactions to cleanliness-related issues.
Analysis of internal-municipal databases
we analyzed tens of thousands of residents' calls to the municipal hotline and public relations department. We also scrutinized all the fines and reports issued to residents for cleanliness-related infringements.
Learning from successes around the world
we learned and examined examples of urban projects, both in Israel and worldwide, that succeeded in generating a positive change in city cleanliness.
Internal-municipal work meetings
we held several meetings with different parties at the Beer Sheva Municipality in order to examine and fine-tune the findings, and to relate them to ongoing activity while increasing the study's relevance to reality on the ground.
What did we learn from the research?
We accumulated a large amount of knowledge that we presented via four areas of opportunity. These areas of opportunity are fields in which we found challenges that influence cleanliness in the city's public space.
Study Question: What is a Dirty Domain?
Dirt is much more than regular garbage
The area surrounding the garbage can is a key hazard
The "back yard" as a focal point of neglect and rubbish
Ramifications of development – living in a building site
A stimulating or green environment can compensate for deficiencies and rubbish
The Opportunity: Delineation of a Clear Municipal Policy for Management of the Public Domain.
This policy will include integrated enforcement measures to create deterrence and order, public relations activity, and preventative education; will bolster City Hall's image as city "landlord", especially in significant problematic locations; will positively impact on residents' behavior in maintaining the city's cleanliness
Upon completion of the study and, as we did with the business challenge, we conducted ideation workshops with a range of participants including municipal employees, residents, representatives of social organizations and even elementary school pupils.
The workshops focused on dog waste, the back yard, the city's construction sites and rubbish around garbage cans.
We worked in 8 groups, with a total of 73 participants, that proposed 314 ideas, processes, and initiatives for contending with the challenge.
Prototyping and Preparing for Implementation
Stay tuned for updates…
Prototyping involves translating an idea or initiative into methods of action. The process enables us to learn via action, to receive feedback, and to make necessary small and flexible adjustments in a product or service.