In the urban maintenance case, citizens will report issues and enter ideas about improving the urban space through a mobile system. By using a smartphone, reporting is made easy and context-parameters can be automatically used making the issue report very ‘rich’. Using existing information about the desired and required state of the urban space, this will help the citizen to make better judgements about issues. Also, social networks can be used to increase commitment and to involvement of citizen in the maintenance of their environment.
The use case is setup in The Netherlands, using the existing buitenbeter community. Specific trials will be performed in designated areas, for example cities like Eindhoven or Tilburg, which are already very actively supporting and promoting buitenbeter. This way, by directly involving (local) governments, real life policies can be used to test these in the Live+Gov project.
In the urban maintenance case, one of the large challenges is to achieve active involvement of the citizens, which goes beyond just reporting a direct annoyance. This will be achieved by designing game-like trials with ‘rewards’ that stimulate the users to keep on using the system. By using real life trials, with participating cities, citizens will also receive rewards in the form of actual improvement of their urban space, which is of course the ultimate reward for taking the effort of reporting. Another challenge is to bridge the gap between the terminologies that citizens use and that of formal governance policies. This is where the policy modeling meets the urban maintenance use case.
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For the citizen, the benefit is twofold: on one hand it means being able to report issues with regards to urban maintenance very easily and in a way that is close to the experience of the user, on the other hand it means the citizen can directly interact with policies and can influence these. For the government, the main benefit is the direct interaction with its citizens, resulting in more committed and involved citizen. This can also result in a cost-reduction for governments, because traditional communication channels are often more costly and less effective and because having citizens involved means having a lot of ‘ears and eyes’ outside that give input, needing less governmental officials to do this work.
Using gaming, a school class goes out to check their neighbourhood. All students have smartphones to report what they think is not ok. Each student has a limited amount of credits to spend and can choose on which issue these can be spend. This way, the policy-making is simulated in an easy and attractive way to students, at the same time giving relevant and valuable input for real policy-makers.
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