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Description

Citizen engagement is defined as the two-way interaction or communication between citizens and the government. This process is continuing to play an instrumental role in the way human settlements are being governed. Decision-making processes are enhanced by engaging those most affected and intimately connected with societal challenges. As much as traditional means such as public forums, town hall meetings, etc. still have relevance, more innovative and convenient forms of citizen engagement are advancing the ways in which citizens can partake in governance procedures.

Despite the variations in the form in which citizen engagement may take place, it should ideally be characterized by a clear purpose and goal, clear structure and process, documented influence on decision-making processes, and present opportunities for inclusive and continuous representation. The major components of citizen engagement are illustrated in the figure below.

Main Design Components of Citizen Engagement (Daher E., 2021)

Benefits

Benefits show tangibly how implementation of a Solution can improve the city or place.

The relevance of empowering citizens is to support democratisation in decision-making processes, enhance the delivery of goods and services and enhance developmental goals. Consequently, it is expected with supported channels for citizen engagement, that the governance of society is optimised by facilitating more progressive, transparent and cohesive ways of functioning.

Main benefits
  • Improving social integration

  • Promoting sustainable behavior

  • Facilitating citizen engagement

Potential benefits
  • Enabling new business opportunities

  • Reducing operation costs

  • Improving life quality

  • Reducing investment costs

  • Promoting active living

Functions

Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.
Mandatory functions
    Mobilise stakeholders and ensure inclusivity

    Motivating and mobilising as many stakeholders as possible to ensure inclusivity in the way in which society is governed

    Support transparency

    Supporting transparency and accountability from governing parties

    Meet citizen needs

    Meeting the needs of citizens in a timely and efficient manner

    Foster a sense of community

    Bringing about a sense of belonging and shared responsibility

Potential functions
    Support capacity building

    Supporting capacity building opportunities of participants

    Optimise resource use

    Optimising the use of resources by distributing resources directly to the location of identified challenges

Variants

A variant is generally something that is slightly different from other similar things. In the context of Solutions, variants are different options or possibly sub-fields/branches by which the Solution may be implemented, e.g. different technological options.

There are different formats and approaches which citizen engagement can take. They include:

Description

With this approach, conventional activities such as town hall meetings, public forums, and cultural events are facilitated with online e-participating platforms, online questionnaires, dedicated project webpages, and social media. As traditional forms of participation are not always sufficient to address a broad range of the population and motivate them to participate, creative and convenient ways to encourage participation are being fostered by multi-channel approaches.

Use Cases

Tourism

ICT

Citizen Engagement Platform for Sandona

Citymatica is a communication platform that helps Sandona to create trusted and effective communication environment between the city and citizens. It is always available and very easy to operate. Citymatica enables personalized communication with individual citizen, that is relevant by content.

Mobility

Energy

Promote the Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging in Multi-Family Housing

The aim of the measure is to inspire and help interested citizens as well as owners of parking facilities with facts and practical advice on how to install EV charging facilities in multi-family houses.

Social Responsibility

Mobility

Interactive Road Planning with AR

The city of Aachen wants to adjust a road in the city centre and has multiple feasible scenarios. As Aachen wants to let its citizens participate in the urban planning process, the Road Planning Tool from cityscaper is used to display the different scenarios in 3D live on-site.

Description

With this approach, an online participation platform or dashboard is used by the municipality to gather information on participations and topics relevant to the societal demographics. The measurement of the number, gender, and age of participants, as well as insights on type of topics and locations of participants, are used to get an overview of the demographics of engaged participants, topics of relevance and geographic distribution of challenges.

Use Cases

ICT

Air

Mobility

Citizen Platform for Urban Air Quality

Breeze Technologies is creating a citizen-driven air quality sensing network in the district Rothenburgsort in Hamburg, Germany.

Mobility

Behaviour Change through Mobile Probing with Citizens

Mobile probing enables studying citizens (mobility) behaviours in an interactive manner through their own eyes in real-time. This understanding builds a base for designing for successful behavioural change.

Other

The Dublin Beat Understanding Citizen Sentiment

Dublin City Council, through the Smart Dublin initiative, is collaborating with Citibeats, to better understand how citizens experience the city region. Through social media analysis, local authorities can gain important insights into how citizens feel about key civic issues.

Description

With this approach, applications, developed by either the government or non-governmental sectors, are used to address a particular issue such as mobility, health services or other service areas of relevance. Residents can directly access information of interest and provide feedback on the quality of service.

Use Cases

Mobility

ICT

Air

Health

Citizen Science for Traffic and Air Pollution Monitoring

An EU funded 'citizen science' project that empowers citizens to take a leading role in measuring road traffic and air pollution in their neighbourhoods.

ICT

Air

Mobility

Citizen Platform for Urban Air Quality

Breeze Technologies is creating a citizen-driven air quality sensing network in the district Rothenburgsort in Hamburg, Germany.

Description

With this approach, citizens can access, use, and share freely accessible data sets provided by the municipality, allowing for the creation of applications or research opportunities that are used to improve choices available to or taken by citizens. This approach also allows for crowdsourcing or co-designing efforts and tracking the realisation of governmental actions or promises.

Use Cases

ICT

Open Data Portal

The aim is to make cities more attractive, liveable and resilient through data and digital technology - improving the cities for their citizens and making them more attractive to potential investors.

ICT

Water

Security

SCORE: Smart Cities + Open Data Re-Use

The aim of the SCORE project was to create open access to key watercourse and rainfall data across a number of sites in the city. With the increase in high intensity rainfall events Aberdeen needs to create greater resilience and adaption measures.

ICT

Mobility

Open Platform for Multimodal Mobility Information and Services

This Use Case is to develop an integrated Open Data mobility platform, gathering and providing information from all transport modes, whilst prioritising the more sustainable ones.

Value Model

Cost-benefit assessment of the Solution.

Citizen Engagement Value Model (BABLE, 2021)

City Context

What supporting factors and characteristics of a city is this Solution fit for? What factors would ease implementation?

The relevance of open forms of communication between government and society lies in the efficient delivery of services, goods, and information. As urban communities become increasingly reliant on the convenience, comfort and efficiency that come with digitalisation, there is now a greater expectation that more intelligent ways will be used to ensure the needs of the populations are met. The urgency with which to effectively communicate and respond to the citizens in real-time and during a quickly evolving situation has been undoubtedly demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting Factors

  1. Budgetary cuts and limited government spending mean that municipalities are always looking for ways to extend on capacity and streamline the way resources are utilised and distributed. The application of multi-channel approaches means that resources previously earmarked for face-to-face interaction or in-the-field monitoring by governmental agencies can be dedicated to other societal demands.
  2. Freedom of expression and convenience: Today’s citizens are becoming increasingly reliant on the utilisation of technologies to access services, goods, and information and the convenience of quickly accessing and providing feedback when their needs are not met. Technologically supported citizen engagement means that citizens are largely provided with a space to freely express opinions without the fear of being persecuted or the possibility of facing punitive actions.
  3. Inclusive governance: The resilience of cities is strengthened by empowered citizens who are provided with the opportunities to freely communicate, connect, and collaborate with each other and with governing agencies. Effectively engaging citizens allows context-specific challenges to be quickly communicated and addressed, offers the opportunity to integrate inclusive sources of knowledge, and allows decisions to be easily accepted and implemented.

Government Initiatives

What efforts and policies are local/national public administrations undertaking to help further and support this Solution?

There are several noticeable governmental initiatives being used to support citizen engagement. Examples are provided below.

  1. Gamification: commonly refers to the introduction of gaming elements to serious, mundane, and non-gaming context to induce engagement and motivation (Hassan, 2019). These gaming elements include in-person participatory approaches such as the utilisation of Lego blocks, drawing competitions and virtual/augmented reality to redesign physical spaces. Gamification is also commonplace in E-participation in the form of web-based challenges as well as virtual and augmented reality tools.
  2. E-Services: This refers to the use of ICT and applications to facilitate the delivery of services, as well as provide the opportunity for communication with citizens through an online platform. The acronym XaaS refers to everything as a service or anything as a service and refers to any of an increasing number of services provided online including the governmental provision of services (Novotny et al., 2014). These services cover a wide range of fields including transportation, public utilities, social care services, public safety, and disaster management. Emerging applications are extended to diverse fields such as: smart grid, smart home, security, building automation, remote health and wellness monitoring, location-aware applications, mobile payments, and other machine-to-machine (M2M) applications (Novotny et al., 2014)
  3. City Dashboards: city dashboards use visual analytics e.g., charts, graphs, 3D models and augmented landscapes to display information about the performance, structure, pattern, and trends of cities, which are used to increase public knowledge and opportunities for counter-narratives (Kitchin, 2016). Data from sensors, smart metering systems, cameras, geographically positioned systems and cloud computing are being integrated with dashboards to improve decision outcomes, gather real-time information, and enable modelling of urban flows or community behaviour.
  4. Online engagement platform: As part of the E-services and Dashboards, municipalities feature online social applications to capture a wider audience and open channels to directly engage with elected representatives.  With the ability to contribute to the democratic process from the comfort of home, more members of the community can share their thoughts and ideas, request service, as well as file reports and complaints including elderly and disabled citizens with mobility barriers (Nelimarkka, et al., 2014).
  5. Living Labs: A living lab emphasizes the roles of user involvement, prototyping, testing, and validating in the creation of new technologies, services, products, or systems in real-life settings (Engez, et al., 2021). Therefore, it capitalises on user-centric, open dialogue and iteration processes as well as government-business-academia-people collaboration to achieve innovative outcomes. Living labs are distinguished from other open-innovation ecosystems by allowing users to improve the technologies that are being co-created and tested with other stakeholders in real-life environments (Nyström, et al., 2014)

Stakeholder Mapping

Which stakeholders need to be considered (and how) regarding the planning and implementation of this Solution?

Citizen Engagement Stakeholder Map (BABLE, 2021)

Market Potential

How big is the potential market for this Solution? Are there EU goals supporting the implementation? How has the market developed over time and more recently?

Institutions and the governance of society benefit substantially from the empowered citizenry. Proactive and people-oriented administration and policies, on-demand participation, and co-design processes are growing positive trends observed during the 2020 United Nations E-Government Survey (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2020). These new insights from behavioural science, coupled with the recent advances in digital technologies, are leading governments worldwide to pursue citizen engagement more seriously (Chew, 2019).

There have been worldwide initiatives that apply different and highly complementary approaches to support stakeholder collaboration as illustrated in the figure below. A few notable examples are the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Services, Singapore’s Government Technology Agency, the United States’ Office of Management and Budget, the Canadian Digital Services and the European Commission’s Design for Europe.

Examples of Digital Participation Platforms Provided around the World (Chew, 2019)

In emerging economies, the digital divide is often cited as a prevalent issue affecting the level of digital participation as a larger percentage of the population has restricted access to ICT. Nonetheless, countries from the global south are part of this digital wave with a particular focus on the use of social media networking tools as a communication portal with governing authorities. Below, are the observed trends on the number and type of portals available to countries by geographical regions.

Number of Countries Offering Selected Features for Online Interaction by Region (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2020)

Globally, in 2021, almost one-third of citizens (32%) ranked more use of digital technologies in the provision of public services as one of the top three priorities for governments to improve the quality of services (Bertrand, 2021). Governments are, therefore, increasing investment in technological infrastructure and tools. The 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey reported that government investment in technology increased by 5% globally at the start of the pandemic due to the urgency for government organizations to transform their citizen-focused strategies, invest in security, and move a significant portion of their workforce to remote working environments (KPMG, 2020). The savings expected with the use of innovative engagement approaches will also drive wider uptake. The savings from the digital government services provided in Estonia, for example, is estimated to save 2,8 million hours of work, or 2% of GDP (Hunink, 2018).

Cost Structure

The cost implications of participatory approaches vary considerably. There are unavoidable costs associated with administrative staff and other supporting resources dedicated to supporting the engagement process. Face-to-face interaction is characterised as a more expensive venture because of the expense associated with organisational, recruitment, and hosting costs, e.g., the costs associated with the use of hosting spaces, office supplies, promotional activities and consumables including transportation. The cost of online communication is expected to be significantly lower, but consideration must be extended to the size, features, essential product plan and other platform development necessities as well as the required human resources. The figure below provides an idea of the average costs associated with different modes of engagement.

Costs related to the different modes of engagement  (Cuau, C., 2019); (Citizen Lab, 2016)

Operating Models

Which business and operating models exist for this Solution? How are they structured and funded?

Citizen engagement may take various forms:

  • Driven by the government VS. Driven by citizen-led initiatives
  • Proactive VS. Reactive: Proactive is the case in which citizens contribute to intended policy formulation and Infrastructural development whereas reactive is the opportunity to provide feedback on already implemented decisions or projects. Reality however reveals that these two are largely intertwined.
  • One-off activity VS. Recurrent activity
  • Open Participation VS. Closed Participation: Open participation allows all citizens to freely participate whereas closed participation is conducted only with selected or invited members of society e.g., citizen jury

Legal Requirements

Relevant legal directives at the EU and national levels.
  1. Germany’s Federal Participation Act: this act is to strengthen the participation of all societal actors.
  2. EU4 Rule of Law: Mandates Citizen's Engagement for Public Integrity.
  3. Directive 2003/35/EC: supports the application of public participation for developing certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending concerning public participation and access to justice.
  4. Directive (EU) 2019/1024: remove barriers that hinder the re-use of open data and public sector information throughout the Union.
  5. European Commission’s SMART 2012/0107: Provision of services for the Publication, Access and Reuse of Open Public Data across the European Union, through existing open data portals.

Data and Standards

Which relevant standards, data models and software are relevant to or required for this Solution?

With the emphasis on open and holistic governance, there are a multitude of data and standards being developed to encourage community engagement. A few are described below:

  1. The National Standards for Community Engagement developed by the Scottish Community Development Centre relate to good-practice principles designed to improve and guide the process of community engagement. There are seven guiding principles: inclusion, support, planning, working together, method, communication, and impact.
  2. The E-Participation Index is an index focused on the availability of online services in the provision of information by governments to citizens.
  3. UNICEF’s Minimum Quality Standards and Indicators for Community Engagement: defines community engagement principles, key actions, goals and benchmarks to provide guidance for community engagement approaches across all sectors and for all countries.
  4. The European Commission’s Digital Competence Framework for Citizens provides an online self-assessment test, which allows people to measure their digital competence and identify knowledge gaps.
  5. Aarhus Convention grants the public the right to access information, justice, and public participation in governmental decision-making processes.
  6. The Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment provides for extensive public participation in the development and application of impact assessments for infrastructural projects and policy development.

Use Cases

Explore real-life examples of implementations of this Solution.

Social Responsibility

Istanbul Is Asking Children - Increasing children's active participation in city life

The project works to ensure the active participation of children ages 6-15 in the decision and policy-making processes regarding the development of the city they live in. The goal is to prioritise children's participation in city affairs, recognising this as their fundamental right.

Social Responsibility

ICT

Academy of the Near Future: Design Your Future City

Academy of the Near Future is a smart cities education programme developed by Smart Docklands, Dublin City Council and CONNECT. The 'Design Your Future City' Week allowed students to participate in workshops in which they could discover innovative technology skills and solutions to local problems.

Social Responsibility

Mobility

Health

Building

Running a Participatory Budgeting Process in Lahti, Finland

The City of Lahti, Finland began its first participatory budgeting (PB) project that would span the entire city. The city used Maptionnaire Community Engagement Platform to digitize and streamline the process. As this project was successful among residents, the city now runs a PB process annually.

Social Responsibility

Energy

ICT

Security

Model and predictive tool and study of the digital divide in Sant Feliu de Llobregat

The City Council of Sant Feliu de Llobregat carries out a study of situations of vulnerability and inequality in the municipality, with a special focus on the digital divide. The analysis of the data allows predicting the needs of the population and acting preventively and ex officio.

Social Responsibility

ICT

Kuhardt App

An app that reaches all target groups equally and provides information about news from the authorities, culture and sport as well as events and important addresses. In the interactive area, citizens have the opportunity to write messages and post notices on the notice board.

Mobility

Regional e-bike sharing scheme

With the help of FastTrack, the agency’s goal is to implement a regional e-bike sharing scheme in 25 municipalities in Ljubljana urban region to develop infrastructure and to introduce modern e-bike sharing technology in the region.

Energy

Continuation of citizen engagement in LWB-Kiosk "Nachbarschaftstreff" (LWB-Community Meeting Point)

The LWB-Kiosk serves as a meeting place for residents and provides a low-threshold environment for meetings, communication, information, leisure activities and social participation.

Social Responsibility

Mobility

ICT

Security

Large scale community engagement for difficult transportation issue with help of digital platform

An effective community engagement plan involved 45000+ residents of Jalisco to collaboratively find new solutions for a complex transportation issue. The planners got a wealth of information for preparing a multidimensional solution to the transportation problem around a major thoroughfare.

Mobility

Building

Improved Citizen Engagement in Urban Redevelopment Enabled by 3D & AR Experiences

Creating an engaging urban design process using interactive 3D & AR visuals

Social Responsibility

Energy

Waste

Water

Air

Other

My Footprint: How Oslo Frogner inspires citizens to sustainable choices via nudging and inspiration

Frogner, an Oslo district's latest innovation, 'My Footprint,' promotes sustainability within Innocodes Citizen app. It educates users on eco-friendly choices by tracking local emissions, offering guidance and inspiration trough active nudging over time.

Mobility

Cycling in Velika Gorica

One common transport strategy or tailored transport strategies for each municipality? The Cyclurban project brought municipalities from different geographical regions of Europe together. Different in many ways, they all aimed to increase the share of cycling in order to battle climate change.

Mobility

Cycling in Drama

One common transport strategy or tailored transport strategies for each municipality? The Cyclurban project brought municipalities from different geographical regions of Europe together. Different in many ways, they all aimed to increase the share of cycling in order to battle climate change.

Social Responsibility

Other

Accessible Konya for Disabled Citizens

The project implemented in Konya aims to minimize the difficulties faced by all disabled individuals, especially when using public transportation, and to facilitate their lives in other areas. The project consists of the 'Accessible Konya Mobile Application' and other system components.

ICT

Other

Digital Divide Map of Istanbul

Just like other inequalities present in society, digital inequality must be closely monitored and efforts must be made to prevent it from deepening over time for citizens. Special effort is required to reduce inequalities related to access, use and proficiency in information technologies.

ICT

Water

Digital Secondhand Shop

The city of The Hague helped promote second hand stores through the creation of apps, allowing for increased public access to second hand product information and a reward scheme for purchases.

Waste

Circular Lab 070

The city of The Hague, alongside the local URBACT group created the Circular Lab 070, a space to provide sustainability and circular economy skills and knowledge.

Waste

Circular Interior Design Skills

The Laak district of The Hague created workshops to promote and educate residents on circular interior design skills.

Energy

Building

ICT

Virtual energy advisor by Barcelona municipality

The Virtual Energy Advisor is being developed within the Barcelona Municipality project ‘Take charge of your energy’ with the aim to reduce household electricity consumption by encouraging behavioural changes amongst tenants.

Mobility

Mobility management strategies for vulnerable groups

The Municipality of Madrid aims at developing meaningful policy guidelines to address mobility management for vulnerable groups (elderly and children), thus shifting urban mobility in the outskirts from the dominance of car use to active trips and increasing safety in the outskirts of the city.

Security

Mobility

ICT

Innovative and Participative Approach to Traffic Safety

The city of Madrid conducted a comprehensive road safety study in the demonstration area, complemented by a GIS-based tool and public participation to boost road safety.

ICT

Mobility

Community information and participation portal

A central internet platform for all citizens, companies and institutions of the project area Domagkpark and Parkstadt Schwabing serves as a communication channel to provide information, service and tips on the subject of mobility in the district.

Mobility

ICT

Participatory Mobility Planning

The City of Turku and the Regional Council of Southwest Finland developed new planning approaches and tested the possibilities made available by new technologies and social networks (mobile apps, social media) for interactive and participatory planning.

Mobility

Mobility and Lifestyles of Residents in The Turku Region

A Maptionnaire survey called “Mobility in the Turku Region and the future of the harbour area” was arranged in the Turku region. The results were used to understand mobility habits, to better connect participatory planning with city / traffic planning processes. 

Energy

Mobility

Building

Other

Creating Positive Energy Districts with a Co-Creation Model

The co-creation model for smart and sustainable urban areas enables cities, together with companies and other actors, to develop sustainable and smart urban districts of the future, to increase communication between stakeholders and to create shared goals and actions.

Mobility

Behaviour Change through Mobile Probing with Citizens

Mobile probing enables studying citizens (mobility) behaviours in an interactive manner through their own eyes in real-time. This understanding builds a base for designing for successful behavioural change.

Other

Engaging Youth: Buddy Class

Buddy Class is an interactive educational tool to engage local youth in the development of their own neighbourhoods, in particular for energy systems and mobility.

Social Responsibility

Mobility

Interactive Road Planning with AR

The city of Aachen wants to adjust a road in the city centre and has multiple feasible scenarios. As Aachen wants to let its citizens participate in the urban planning process, the Road Planning Tool from cityscaper is used to display the different scenarios in 3D live on-site.

Building

MyDoorStep Bringing Vital Information to Citizens

South Dublin County Council’s MyDoorStep project is a digital information platform and walk in-service that provides buyers with all of the detail needed to make the most informed decision possible when purchasing a home.

Tourism

Social Responsibility

Mobility

Air

Car Free Avenue in Tartu

Tartu closed one of its main streets in the city centre for car traffic and opened it for its citizens for the whole of July 2020, in order to introduce the concept of urban biodiversity and build understanding of a human-friendly livable city.

Building

Mobility

Public Participation in Södra Värtan, Stockholm

The City of Stockholm used a Maptionnaire map-based survey to gather community opinions and feedback on a redevelopment project. With this online public participation tool, city planners reached out to diverse groups and included their opinions in the project.

Other

Live laB TOOLKIT FOR Participatory design in Public Space

The Strijp-S district in Eindhoven was used as a testing ground for a 2 week process to organise public consultation using integration of multiple information technologies. The Live Lab, a virtual and physical platform for sharing knowledge and ideas was used to co-create a green square in Strijp.

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