25 November 2022

Engaging the Elderly

Nermina Suljevic – Head of Department for Sustainable Development, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our main concern was whether we had access to all age groups. Do we have elderly people? Can they access these tools? After COVID, I think this is something that actually changed a lot because now we have this older population using new technologies much more. During pandemic and curfews they were alone in their homes, and their children or grandchildren taught them how to use the technology, so they could communicate with their loved ones, feel less disconnected and lonely. But this was always one of our concerns. Do we have citizen participation if we have the whole age group that is not there at all on the internet? There is still a population for whom it’s inaccessible.

Project: Smart City Initiative
Software used: Consul

Mobilising the Population

Arnaud Pinxteren Alderman for Early Childhood, Citizen Participation and Urban Renewal, Brussels, Belgium

The first challenge is the mobilisation of people. For every participatory project, digital or physical, it’s very difficult to reach the people and get to a critical amount to be able to say we can guarantee diversity and representativeness in the expressed opinion. That’s a difficulty we had. Linked with this is promoting the use of the platform. We need to convince people to participate. Then we need to convince people to participate on a digital platform. It’s two steps, and it’s not so easy to get the people so far, because not everybody finds digital tools easy to use.

Project: Participatory Budgets
Software used: Numerous

Listening to the People

Eesti Koostoo Kogu – Estonian Cooperation Assembly, Estonia

I think the only actual challenge is to have the politicians hear or listen more, but in essence, it (Rahvaalgatus) does work. Even with the initiatives that are not feasible for the parliament. For example, we had an initiative that said that one member of parliament should be kicked out, and the Parliament can’t do that. Still, they had a debate and it actually grew into a larger debate around the issue of whether you should be able to recall parliament members. It got 20,000 signatures and then the commission also used the opportunity to send this initiative to that Parliament member because the parliament member himself could have left the parliament, but he chose not to.

Project: Parliamentary Petitions
Software used: Rahvaalgatus

Acting on Decisions

Amalia Zepou Former Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Innovation, Athens, Greece

The biggest challenge was to pass these very bold decisions in the city council. A city council with a very traditional culture that was unfamiliar with either platforms at the time or digital communication. Those brought along what they call the “co-designing mentality” that these processes entailed. The biggest challenge was the city council and the voting in the city councils on the decisions that resulted from this.

Project: synAthina
Software used: synAthina

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