The Mayor’s Fix-It Team

In May 2016, the Mayor of San Francisco launched the Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Promise. This was a new initiative to improve the quality of life in San Francisco with a coordinated approach to delivering City services better and faster. He issued an Executive Directive to Department Heads responsible for quality of life issues directing them to prioritize services so all residents have access to clean, safe, maintained public spaces and facilities. To ensure success, the mayor created the Fix-It Team.

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When Fix-It was formed in 2016, it immediately began work in five areas within San Francisco neighborhoods (“Fix-It Zones”), where a significant amount of residents had been voicing quality of life concerns to the Mayor. In an effort to utilize data as the Fix-It Team expanded its scope of work in 2017, the Fix-It Team worked with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation to create an equitable, transparent and data-driven model to determine the Fix-It Zones. This process included collecting resident feedback through community surveys and an analysis of mapped 311 data and police data.
The Fix-It process is summarized over 5 stages: Identification of the challenges and opportunities (data and information gathering), Evaluation (mapping concerns and walking the area with the residents), Validation (walking the area with the responsible City agencies), Execution (action plan creation and service monitoring), and Reporting (sharing successes and roadblocks with residents, survey and feedback).
When working in Fix-It neighborhoods, residents are encouraged to voice any and all issues pertaining to their neighborhood’s public spaces. However, the Fix-It Team works to set expectations with residents by defining quality of life issues as issues primarily focused on the built environment, issues that do not require a capital investment to address and resolve, such as sidewalk cleanliness, street lighting, bus stop and street conditions, graffiti, and more. In addition to these types of issues, Fix-It works with City agencies in order to provide residents with timely and accurate information about processes to address health and human service concerns, such as encampments and discarded syringes, as well as infrastructure concerns, such as streetscape improvements and traffic calming efforts.
Most of the Fix-It Team’s time is devoted to problem-solving by analyzing data, listening to residents, and working with City agencies to create a set of specific, measurable, and realistic actions to take in each zone. After creating an action plan, Fix-It is responsible for executing quality service delivery and ensuring follow through from agency partners. Throughout the entire process, residents receive consistent communication, with responses to their questions and reports back with results. Fix-It is also active on social media, posting before/after images, providing resident information, and soliciting feedback.
The Fix-It Team works directly with City agencies to implement the Action Plans for each Fix-It Zone. The Fix-It Team relies on these collaborations to implement the varied requests from residents. These partnerships enable Fix-It to utilize a diverse range of City services to address issues immediately while simultaneously illuminating complex City processes for residents. This makes Fix-It a “one stop shop” for residents, removing barriers to accessing city officials and agency representatives.
Fix-It provides a service to two groups: city agencies and residents. Its process is designed to meet the needs of both groups and deliver value to them. Fix-It defines value proposition to both groups by 1) Fixing safety and cleanliness concerns; 2) Offering direct contact in city government for quality of life issues; 3) Improving neighborhood resilience; 4) Understanding what services residents need most; and 5) Packaging the highest priority service requests for the appropriate agencies.
Fix-It’s success hinges on delivering value to these two groups. As part of the “Reporting” stage in the Fix-It process, several tools and methods are utilized for evaluating work. Fix-It tracks the completion level of its action plans, ensuring all concerns were addressed, and conducts trainings and community clean-ups to empower and assemble residents. Residents are surveyed before and after Fix-It’s work, and individuals are interviewed as well for qualitative feedback. The Fix-It Team visits its neighborhoods at various times of day and night to evaluate conditions, and has an in-house database to assess its impact on quality of life via data analysis of 311 and crime data.
Over a two-year period Fix-It has engaged with nearly 1,500 community members, completed nearly 4,000 identified “fixes,” and hosted nearly 60 community meetings over 30 zones throughout San Francisco. In 2018 Fix-It expanded its scope to propose wider-ranging quality of life solutions, such as offering motion-sensor LED lighting to residents on darker blocks, contracting with cutting-edge waste technology to improve public garbage cans in key areas, working with non-profits to engage with and improve the lives of unhoused and at-risk individuals, and taking over management of supplemental cleaning contracts awarded by the City to ensure that residents’ needs are being met.

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Year: 2016
Level of government: Local government


  • Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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