Innovative communities: five online projects making real-word changes

With access to a smartphone, tablet or computer, our worlds can be instantly expanded. But, there are also a host of apps and online projects that are helping to connect people with their local communities in the real world too. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting innovative communities that are harnessing the power of the internet to create beneficial real-world experiences:

1. Olio

Bought too much fresh food just before a holiday? Over catered for a dinner party? Olio is the perfect solution to the food waste conundrum. Whether you’re an individual or a business, wanting to collect food or give it away, Olio is the app that connects excess food with people who can use it. Check out the app to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods and help cut down on food waste.

2. Story City

More active than reading a book and as exciting as playing Pokemon Go, this very recently launched, free Australian app allows you to choose your own adventures all over the country. All you need is a smartphone or tablet to take part in your own story, while getting to know your city. You can run from zombies in Brisbane, solve mysteries in Adelaide, become a pirate in Sydney; or, choose your own story to follow.

3. Hey Vina

Just moved to a new city and trying to crack into the community? Hey Vina is your new best friend, for finding best friends. After university or school, it can be trickier to meet people. Everyone’s familiar with dating apps, but this clever Californian-born app is for those seeking new friendships…wherever you happen to be. Find your real-life tribe online.

4. Freecycle

The ultimate ‘trash to treasure’ community, Freecycle is a platform for helping connect people with unwanted items. Need to replace your phone charger? Updating your belongings and don’t want to throw away your older items? Freecycle is the place to list your items (for free), or search for odd items you need. Simply explore your neighbourhood on Freecycle to see what people are searching for and looking to give away. (It’s much more effective than leaving things on the footpath to get soaked in the rain!)

5. WeFarm

It may seem hard to believe in this digital age, but there’s some parts of the world that the internet does not yet reach. WeFarm is a community looking to connect people in these parts of the world with the information they need. The focus is on farmers in remote locations, who are surviving with little resources. WeFarm enables farmers to share information via SMS, without having to leave their farms or access the internet. Thanks to this organisation, these farmers can ask questions about their work and receive practical, crowd-sourced solutions from fellow farmers around the world, in a matter of minutes.

What are your favourite community-oriented apps? Tell us in the comments below…

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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