Live + Gov

Archive for June 28th, 2014

eurocities_news‘Jij maakt Utrecht’ (‘You make Utrecht’) is part of Participation 2.0, an innovation platform that focuses on social experimentation in the city of Utrecht. The platform uses new digital technology to support local democracy, encourage active citizenship and support people to self-organise digitally. This initiative is part of strengthening and broadening citizen participation in Utrecht. IMMEDIATE AND ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION INPUT ON LOCAL PLANS Jij maakt Utrecht focuses specifically on involving citizens in policymaking and projects.  By making political participation more accessible, the city of Utrecht gives citizens the opportunity to communicate with policy makers and, if possible, realise their ideas. The city developed an accessible digital platform where all the participation projects are available. People can share their initiatives and discuss or work on plans for the city via the website. The website includes a city map with an overview of initiatives in the various city’s districts. In the future it will become the starting point for all community participation programs. Different types of initiatives can be posted on the website (listed below). The initiatives are immediately visible on the map with coloured icons. Users can click on any icon for more detailed information such as a description, photos, links and more. It is also possible to comment on and discuss the initiatives. – Private initiatives: these are initiatives for the collective interest of neighbourhoods or districts. Public space management by residents: these are initiatives where residents self-administer part of the public space. The municipality can support this initiative by providing maintenance equipment. – Liveability initiatives: These are initiatives from citizens to expand the liveability of a neighbourhood that are partially financed by the city of Utrecht.

Around 150 neighbors have shared their opinion in a virtual consultation to decide where to build a health park… and the park is now a reality! gordexolaThe neighbors of Gordexola expressed their opinion: they wanted the health parks proposed by the Council to be installed near the Zubiete walkway and in the surroundings of the municipal swimming pool. This opinion has been collected through the pilot participation project that the Council of Gordexola backed, with the collaboration of the BiscayTIK Foundation within the Live+Gov European project. Around 150 people answered the proposed questions and for the people from the Council this is “a very positive result if we take into account the population of our municipality and that it is a pioneer experience”. The novelty of the initiative is that the citizens have spoken using their mobile phones. An application available on the Google Play and Apple Store platforms allowed the users to see on the screen of their smart phones how the parks would look like in the chosen locations. The Council of Gordexola proposed several options: Ibargutxi, the municipal swimming pool, the pedestrian walkway in the Zubiete area, the Jose Antonio Garay plaza – near the health center and the frontón- and in the surroundings of the old slaughter house. The realistic simulation has been produced thanks to the combination of two technological formulas, image recognition and GPS location features. The participants were able to test how the device automatically detects a photograph of the place and superposes the 3D model on the phone screen. Using location it was possible to experience a different effect, when the user moved the phone and looked towards the position of the plan, the 3D model appeared on the screen. For those less familiar with new technologies, the Council of Gordexola offered the possibility of traditional paper voting in a ballot box located in the town hall. At this point in time, there is no plan set to repeat an experience of this type soon in Gordexola, but the people are quite happy with the initiative and have expressed that they would be pleased with having more chances to give their opinion in the future, using their mobile devices, due to the low effort needed to do so. After the participation period was closed, it was the moment for the decision makers to make use of the feedback received from citizens. At the end of December the parks were built following the preferences shared by citizens of two small parks, one in the surroundings of the municipal swimming pool and another one near the Zubiete walkway. The Council is very pleased with the result, people seem to be happy with the installations and it is having a high level of acceptance. The next steps now are the follow up by the health department of the use of the outdoor sports equipment, and the inclusion of information of interest about healthy lifestyles, walkways and recommendations on the municipal web page. The regular use of the equipment will be prescribed by the doctor and nurse in Gordexola to those patients who visit them and they consider could benefit from using the health parks.