Coastal cities trying out paperless communication with residents

When I first covered Zumbox, a paperless mail platform based on physical addresses, a few months ago, I was both intrigued and skeptical. I thought the concept was sound, even revolutionary; I wondered, though, how one start-up could attract enough users to its platform to keep it viable. It turns out that local governments are providing one method: yesterday, the company announced that San Francisco and Newark, NJ, are adopting Zumbox for communication with residents.

Mayors Gavin Newsom and Cory Booker both tied the transition to the paperless system with green initiatives already in place: San Francisco’s goal to “…to reach zero waste by 2020,” and Newark’s push to become “…the greenest city in the Garden State.” Mayor Booker also cited cost savings, noting that “Zumbox will help the City to save tax dollars, support our local businesses, and improve the way our city communicates.”

The potential is enormous; we’ll look forward to seeing if residents take to the system. If they do, this could be a real step forward in how cities and towns (as well as other organizations and institutions) communicate with their constituents/stakeholders… without the “junk mail.”

Image credits: Casey Serin at Flickr under a Creative Commons license; Zumbox