Currently viewing the tag: "smart citizens"

Civic-tech-reportHow can we harness technology to promote civic engagement and more responsive government?

This is the main question tackled the ‘Scaling Civic Tech: Paths to a Sustainable Future’, a recently released report summarised insights on this booming sector, developing a more nuanced understanding of civic tech business models.

Visit the website!

What exactly is “civic tech”?

Civic tech: technology used to inform, engage and connect residents with government and one another to advance civic outcomes.

GovTech: technology designed with government as the intended customer or user.

Civic tech and GovTech are neither mutually exclusive nor perfectly overlapping. According to the research, as opposed to GovTech, which includes many technologies government use to increase the efficiency of its internal operations, civic tech tools largely include a citizen-facing component.

This report focuses on civic tech organisations of which a subset would also be considered GovTech. [Download PDF]

Key findings include:

  • A lack of success stories from civic tech start-ups
  • Variations in revenue model
  • Different growth paths
  • Lack of rigorous and consistant impact measurement
  • Philantropic funding targeting specific projects and not core capacities
Infographic_webinar_GDC-SharingCities

At 14:00 CET on 14 March, EUROCITIES hosted a public webinar on citizen participation and co-creation in smart cities, where the experiences gathered from the Sharing Cities and Green Digital Charter projects were shared with the participants.

WATCH THE WEBINAR
Reykjavik 
Better-Reykjavik-logo

Reykjavik

[PRESENTATION]

Magnus Y. Josefsson presented the Better Reykjavik collaborative online platform, through which citizens can submit policy proposals to the municipal government.  ‘Better Reykjavik‘ was among the shortlisted projects in the “Citizen participation & impact on society” category of the 2016 edition of the GDC Awards.

Find out more about Reykjavik’s SMART projects and priorities here.

Milan 
Milan

Milan

[PRESENTATION]

During a recent peer-learning visit organised in Milan in the frame of the Sharing Cities project, ‘fellow’ city representatives heard a presentation about the host city’s civic crowdfunding practices.

Find out more about Milan’s SMART projects and priorities here.

About Sharing Cities

Sharing Cities (www.sharingcities.eu) ‘lighthouse’ programme is a proving ground for a better, common approach to making smart cities a reality. By foestering international collaboration between industry and cities, the project seeks to develop affordable, integrated, commercial-scale smart city solutions with a high market potential. The project partners work in close cooperation with the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) and with other ‘lighthouse’ consortia. Sharing Cities offers a framework for citizen engagement and collaboration at local level, thereby strenghtening trust between cities and citizens. The project draws on €24 million in EU funding. It aims to trigger €500 million in investment and to engage over 100 municipalities across Europe.

 

 

 

Since there cannot be a smart city without smart citizens, the award winner in the first category will be a project that has successfully involved citizens and/or other civil society stakeholders; has adopted a bottom-up approach; and is expected to tackle, or has already tackled, local societal challenges.

Of the 14 projects nominated in this category, three stand a good chance of winning the award:

  • Reykjavik’s Better Reykjavik and My Neighbourhood e-participation projects
  • Utrecht’s Traffic lights hotline
  • Zaragoza’s Citizen Card

‘Better Reykjavik’ and ‘My Neighbourhood’ online consultation tools

Reykjavik, the cBetter-Reykjavik-logoapital of Iceland, aims to enhance citizen participation by developing two dedicated online platforms.

Better Reykjavik is an online consultation forum where the locals can submit, discuss, and prioritise ideas about the municipality’s public services and administration. Each month, the top-rated ideas are processed by the council ‘s standing committees.

Once the feasibility and costs of each project have been assessed, citizens are invited to vote on them in My Neighbourhood, another tool that enables them to participate in the annual budgeting process.

Since its launch in 2010, Better Reykjavik has inspired more than 70,000 people to propose and discuss over 4,500 ideas. To date, 420 ideas have been approved by citizens via My Neighbourhood.

The city of Reykjavik operates these websites jointly with the Citizens Foundation (www.citizens.is), a non-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in governance.

Further information about Reykjavik’s cooperative initiative is available at http://reykjavik.is/en/better-reykjavik-0.

Contact person: Kristinn Jon Olafsson, project manager, Reykjavik smart city: Kristin.jon.olafsson[at]reykjavik.is

Utrecht’s smart mobility project: ‘Traffic lights hotline’

Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, is often referred to as a cyclist’s paradise. This rapidly growing city faces new and unexpected challenges directly linked to its bike-friendly policies. Every day, upwards of 100,000 cyclists ride across the city, sometimes even causing traffic congestion … for their fellow cyclists! Many of them feel that the city’s traffic lights could be better configured, and that some are actually not necessary at all.

hotlinePursuing a smart approach to mobility, Utrecht municipality launched, in February 2015, Traffic Lights Hotline, an online service asking residents to report traffic lights that could be deactivated (for part of the day) or reprogrammed. Nearly 5,000 reports have been received.

The hotline has since become a permanent service, enabling intelligent traffic flow management and improving traffic safety.

The hotline is available at http://mobiliteitsdata-utrecht.nl/verkeer/vri/ (in Dutch only).

Contact person: Muriel Pels, advisor international cooperation and EU funding affairs; m.pels[at]utrecht.nl

 

Zaragoza Citizen Card’

Zaragoza, capital of the Spanish region of Aragon, is located halfway between Barcelona and Madrid. It counts among Europe’s first open-source cities. Zaragoza Citizen Card is a multi-service smart card that can be used for accessing public services and facilities, including payment processing services.

To date, over half of Zaragoza’s atarjetaciudadanadult population have already applied for such an ’all-in-one’ digital key to more than twenty municipal services, including public transport, parking, public libraries, swimming pools, and wifi.

This card is only one example for Zaragoza’s collaborative approach to smart city transformation. In addition to saving costs and making citizens’ life easier, the card comes complete with an open public API (application programming interface), which can be used by citizens to ask questions, and which generates data that can be fed into the city’s innovation ecosystem.

Contact person: Daniel Sarasa Funes, smart city programme manager:  dsarasa[at]zaragoza.es

 

CC0 - Public Domain

Amsterdam (Photo CC0 – Public Domain)

Last Friday (8 march 2016) during a ceremony organised in the European Committee of the Regions (Brussels), Amsterdam became the new European Capital of Innovation (iCapital).

This price has been attributed by the European Commission to reward the city’s efforts on finding innovative solutions to improve life of its citizens and boost its local economy. The winner of this competition, launched only last year, scooped the pot of €950,000 to be used on further boosting innovation.

The strength of Amsterdam lies in its holistic approach, as the city promotes innovation investment in four areas of urban life: governance, economics, social inclusion and quality of life, relying on the active participation of “smart citizens” to transform the city. Initiatives go from a high-tech e-parking system to programming courses for children. The city is also an important hub for start-ups.

Amsterdam is one signatory of the Green Digital Charter, testifying of its commitment in putting innovative solutions at the service of the fight against climate change. Digital technologies create real opportunities for increasing energy efficiency and facilitate emission reductions, in particular in the context of big cities.

Torino, another signatory of GDC, was selected as runner-up and will thus receive €100,000 to fund future initiatives.

Congratulations to both of them!

Seeking for more information?

  • Press Release, “Amsterdam is the European Capital of Innovation 2016”, European Commission, 8 April 2016
  • Why not your city? Click here to know more about this year’s results and conditions of application.
  • Watch teasers on the finalists on the ‘Innovation Union’ YouTube channel