Checking in with an email or a tweet is not only expected these days but it can also prove vital for pushing change. We harp on about “citizen engagement” and “civic tech” a lot because they are more than just buzzwords to us. They serve as common ground to help promote the benefits of open government and including the citizen in developments that directly affect them.

Polisdigitocracy

Our new area of interest is Polisdigitocracy, this effectively means improving our cities operational efficiency through the use of smart tech solutions. The revolution that was the smart cities phenomenon is leading the way, with cities taking a leading role in tackling important issues.

Digital technologies are transforming the way in which citizens communicate – amongst their peers, their wider communities and with the government. This is prompting governments to re-think how they engage with citizens and incorporate their voices into decision making – particularly around climate action.

So how is polisdigitocracy different from smart cities?

Well, to be honest, the first wave of smart cities was arguably too fixated on technological solutions. The focus was on trying to find uses for technology, rather than asking how smart technology can improve urban policy and planning.

After seeing the mistakes of Rio's rush to Smart City status, we have begun to see the error of not including the citizen's opinion. Going forward, data collected will allow researchers and policymakers to understand and model the city environment like never before.

Historically, while the smart city has been integrating digital and data solutions into most physical infrastructure sectors, such as transport, energy and water utilities, plus telecoms, there has remained one glaring exception – green infrastructure.

Help Cities Respond To External Pressure

No city is the same and therefore no city has the same issues. Some cities focus on improving the quality of the school system or providing better infrastructure.

Back in 2016, Dublin City Council was undertaking a process of Public Consultation regarding proposed Traffic Management Measures at College Green and surrounding streets in the city. On the 16th of November 2016 Dublin City Council in association with the National Transport Authority and assisted by ‘Happenings’ and "Connect the Dots" hosted a public discussion workshop regarding the design of a Civic Plaza at College Green. The aim was to convene a public forum where citizens, interested parties, focus groups, and designers could identify and discuss the challenges and opportunities at College Green. The council, together with the National Transport Authority (NTA), is aiming to “improve the safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the College Green area, assisting in the efficient operation of the Luas cross-city and provide a high-quality bus and tram north-south transport corridor.”

A design team has been appointed to develop proposals for a new College Green Civic Space and the outcome of the public discussion workshop will inform the brief for the design team.

Voxcitio are always looking to speak to people who work in the Public Consultation space, so if you are interested please get in touch.