The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that alongside teleworking in times of social distancing there is a growing need for digital participatory democracy. To manage effectively the pandemic, there is an urgent need to improve collaboration between local public authorities and citizens.
Decision makers can benefit from access to citizens’ opinion, ideas and feedback in order to make informed decisions for managing the pandemic and deconfinement. Citizens want a voice in the decision-making process on issues which affect their daily lives and contribute their ideas.
The deconfinement, which is already starting, will require responsible decision-making, so that we do not move back to the previous situation regarding the environment and to address social cohesion in challenging economic times. This makes it even more important to involve citizens in the local decisions on sustainability as it directly affects them and it is where the involvement of each and every citizen is key.
What it does
Proactive-citizens.com is an online platform connecting citizens and communities with local decision-makers. Information is exchanged between local authorities and citizens - with the objective to increase decision-making efficiency through early engagement of citizens. It helps to strengthen a society, which is built on democratic values such as solidarity, mutual respect and community spirit.
In order to focus on solutions to this pandemic that are also in line with a sustainable future, we cluster the exchange of citizens and decision makers according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will not only map the challenges in a universal context but help raise awareness of the goals within society. The project itself is in support of the goals 11 “sustainable cities” and 17 “partnerships for the goals”.
How I built it
Tools used for making the wireframes: InvisionApp, Sketch App
Tool Used to create the video: InShot App
Me and Claudia came up with this concept during the #VersusVirus hackathon and we had the chance here during this hackathon to iterate over our initial concept and validate and improve it based on the feedback we received!
Challenges I ran into
Getting in touch with authorities and finding civil society partners, to discuss the solution and implement a prototype.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We connected with the European Citizens Action Service (ECAS), which only confirmed the feasibility of our initiative. ECAS runs its own crowdsourcing platform, which can be used only on a one-off basis, while the aim of our platform is to assist the spread of the platform across European municipalities and furthermore, to promote it as a tool for participatory budgeting in challenging economic times, when public budgets are getting strained as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. ECAS offered the opportunity to use on a one-off basis their crowdsourcing platform to confirm the necessary features for our platform before it is built up. Through Proactive-citizens.com we reduce the engagement gap between citizens and authorities. The platform is our contribution to rethinking democracy and using technology in a meaningful way to master this crisis together.
What I learned
People unite and form teams via shared ideas and passions. Official structures are secondary.
What's next for ProactiveCitizens
Confirm with selected local authorities in Germany, their involvement in the feasibility phase
Follow up on the initial contacts with ECAS
Identify 2-3 cases for testing the platform in real terms
Establish contacts with national / european authorities, e.g. ECAS.
Identification of synergies with existing projects, e.g. Crossiety – the digital marketplace. Platform to be available in german, french, Italian, danish.