Virtual Kampong

Design Challenge

#2: How might we encourage our community to support one another and look out for those who are socially isolated?

Project Description

The Covid-19 exposed the good and evil of our society. It highlighted the scant knowledge we have of our neighbours/communities and the urgent need for communities to quickly adapt to the changing developments brought about by the pandemic. The project seeks to bring back the communal spirit and trust of the kampong in a virtual environment, allowing communities to thrive and depend on one another through this virtual kampong social platform.

Criteria #1: Value

Although GOV.SG has been an excellent source of information for all things Covid-19, there remains a gap in providing more localized information based on the geographical location of the user, this is particularly so for the elderly group who tend to socialize more within their neighbourhood. With social distancing measures in place that limit physical movement, it becomes imperative for people living in the same community and neighbourhood to be cooperating (or at least to have visibility of what is happening) and sharing localized information and resources. Such information and resources could include Covid-19 cases (clusters, stay-home orders), F&B, health and wellness, security services among others.

Criteria #2: Inspiration

The best design, be it in the online or offline world should emulate the real world environment as much as possible. The virtual kampong social platform serves as a trusted community platform for users to access a whole range of community services, as well as to stay in touch with the latest news and their neighbours in real time. It consists of 3 main categories of services: (1) Community updates (2) Local services and (3) My neighbourhood, within which are sub-categories that house all relevant and personalized services that are closest to the hearts of the users.

Criteria #3: Impact

The Virtual Kampong social platform will be a single point of reference for all products and services relating to the community and neighbourhood (e.g. Jalan Besar/Rowell Court).It also allows more intimate interactions of residents within a single resident block (closed group) or within interest groups. The platform simulates the old kampong spirit in a safe and secured online environment where every single user is authenticated and responsible for their individual behaviour online. With this platform, residents of a community will feel they are kept up-to-date of the latest information that impact their immediate surrounding and also be able to share resources (bulk food delivery, community monitoring of sick and vulnerable members) during such trying times.

Criteria #4: Timeliness

The Virtual Kampong platform consists of levels of services that can be ramped up over time. The first stage between 1 – 3 months will consists of having a single point of resource that are already out there hosted on various websites and on social media. The second stage between 3-6 months is the development of personalized services access and the curation and contribution of content from residents. Since the primary objective is to simulate the Kampong spirit, it is crucial that content is community-led and user generated. Beyond 6 months, original services such as virtual simulation of neighbourhood environment and creation of virtual kampong hut (for virtual hanging out of residents) can be sequentially added.

Criteria #5: Systems Thinking

The development of the Virtual Kampong platform should always be user-centered and be tailored to the core community user groups: elderly, residents with special needs and general residents. It should not reinvent the wheel in terms of content or services creation. It should plug-in with existing service providers out there, as well as integrating with social groups and community services (on Facebook/Google). The platform should also bring together various government ministries and agencies, RCs, Town Councils, Police, CISCO, NGOs, social workers, voluntary groups etc. The common threat is serving localized community within the neighbourhood.