In a city of millions, how many people go knocking on the door of City Hall?

Most citizens know they can bring their problems and ideas directly to elected officials. But in reality, the process of speaking at a public hearing, calling a complaint line or writing a letter can be time-consuming and seem to make little impact.

Now, cities around the country trying to unclog bureaucracy are using technology to harness the wisdom of citizens, make use of their skills and create virtual civic forums.

New York will soon be asking the public to make suggestions online and by text message about how to make the city greener and more sustainable. Those who make proposals will be invited to join with others to make similar changes happen.