What if all citizens had access to the same information as their local government? The Smarticipate project aims to do exactly that: empowering citizens by allowing them access to the open data of their local municipality.
Planning for a new playground or planting new trees to regulate green areas; citizens are often full of ideas regarding the urban planning of their own cities. However, finding the necessary data to further realise these ideas can be difficult to attain as ‘smart city data’ is often unavailable to the public. The Smarticipate project aims to make this data more accessible by acting as a bridge between the citizens and their local government.
The goal of the project is to create a form of city planning that is more transparent, democratic and inclusive. The digital platform will function as a facilitator for interaction between the local government, citizens and developers resulting in a more dynamic relationship between these now often separated parties. The project should be an encouragement for local citizens to start seeing themselves as active players in the decision making process of their local government.
Smarticipate will start out as a three year learning journey, with London (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea), Hamburg (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) and Rome (the City of Rome) as its leading cities. Currently the project is in its first phase of assessment, but local citizens are encouraged to get involved in the development of the digital platform. During ‘Smarthatons’, which have been taking place in London and Hamburg, citizens are being asked to share their ideas and visions on the development process, by expressing their concerns, needs and wishes.
If the project proves to be successful after its three year trial trajectory, the Smarticipate programme will be expanded to other European cities, thus paving the way for a more participatory form of local governance.