Reading: Summary of Module 5
In Module 5, we have discovered some possibilities to participate as a digital citizen within a local community and we have explored concepts such as smart cities and communities.
To start with, we have explored the concepts of smart city and smart community as those in which digital technology is used to engage citizens to participate in decision making of government activities. In contrast, we have seen the criticism related to data privacy, surveillance and privatisation, among others. For its part, smart communities are focused on community-building and local issues that matter directly to the citizens, such as transportation, environmental problems, quality of life, etc. We have also seen key aspects on which to evaluate if a city can be considered a “smart” one, such as environment, urban planning, technology, urban planning, mobility and transportation or governance, among others.
Also, some examples of digital tools used in smart cities or communities have been presented. One is e-participatory budgeting, which is becoming popular and it is a digital democratic process in which citizens decide how to spend some of the local public budget. Another one is e-consultations through which citizens can deliberate or decide about civic issues. With regards to the quality of e-consultations, some aspects have to be taken into account, such as involvement of stakeholders in the decision making-process, provision of information to participants, or real impact of the input of participants in the policy decision. Some initiatives in Europe are MeinBerlin, Decidim Barcelona, and the European Commission Consultations. And, as an example of a civic-tech tool, there is Citizenlab.
In this module we have also learnt about crowdsourcing used in smart communities in order to create innovative projects and provide solutions to certain issues in a creative and collective way, making heard those voices that are not normally heard.Some examples of civic-tech practices and tools seen in the module are FixMyStreet in the UK, Idée Paris in France or Find it, Fix it the USA.
Finally, we have explored an inspiring case study of a Slovenian initiative, the NGO Danes je nov dan (Today is a new day), who has used the tool CONSUL platform for e-participation.
Do you now feel ready to be a potentially active digital citizen? Let's see it in the final project!