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City of Santa Barbara Signs On to Using Nextdoor.com as Communication Tool

Council approves utilizing the site as a way to spread information to residents about city projects and road closures

Santa Barbara is now one of 65 cities using the website Nextdoor.com to spread information to its residents.

The council gave city staff permission Tuesday to use the site as way to spread information about projects being built, road closures and other public information.

Goleta implemented the site into its information-spreading process earlier this year, and Ventura is also using the site, along with larger cities across the state, according to Nextdoor’s Justine Fenwick, who gave council members a brief tour of how the site works.

Santa Barbara has 32 neighborhoods that would be reflected in the Nextdoor site. Conversations and posts are shared only in the neighborhood. About 350 of the city’s residents are already on the site.

“When neighbors know one another, they create better neighborhoods,” Fenwick said, adding that people use the site to track down babysitters, report a break-in and find out information.

There’s still a digital divide in certain neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, and many people don’t own a personal computer. City staff recognized that fact, but said they felt Nextdoor would be a tool to connect those who do have access.

Fenwick said the language of the site is also only in English, and the Nextdoor team is looking at ways to create a multilingual platform.

Nextdoor is still about a year away from launching advertising on the site, which raised concern among Councilman Randy Rowse and Councilwoman Cathy Murillo. The city already uses outlets such as Facebook, which hosts ads, and City Administrator Jim Armstrong said the city would use discretion if any perceived conflict arises.

Click here to connect with Santa Barbara on Nextdoor.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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