Spatial Services

GEOCITIZEN

Digital citizen participation at the municipal level

An opportunity for your municipality

GeoCitizen enables digital participation and networking of volunteers at the municipal level. Using this web-based application, municipalities can involve citizens in decision-making processes as well as allow them to participate in the development and realisation of municipal projects. The planning and coordination of municipal projects and volunteers can be more efficiently facilitated.

Ultimately the goal is to establish a more transparent and structured discussion process between citizens and the municipal administration. The application supports municipalities to digitally connect with other stakeholders in municipal and regional development. Organising additional meetings with participants (e.g. workshops) may be a constructive way to gain further cooperation and support.

Module 1: Assessment
Overview using online surveys
In the first module, the municipality may poll their citizens using an online-survey and thus receive an overview of the current
situation. The survey may refer to various quality of life indicators within the municipality, for example public transportation or green spaces. It is well suited to inquiring about a wide variety of topics relevant to municipalities. Municipal authorities can create, design and evaluate the online survey on the website. The results of questions with spatial elements may be displayed as a background map and be incorporated in the following modules as well as in the webplatform.
The automatic evaluation of surveys is a starting point for the overall development and realization of projects.

Module 2: Discussion
Information and opportunity to suggest improvements
The second module collects the participants’ observations, suggestions for improvement and ideas for municipal development. The themes and categories (e.g. mobility) that are defined beforehand require that the suggestions contain possible improvements. The posting of pure complaints is not facilitated. Participants may also share their ideas on Facebook or Twitter. These are displayed in an easy to understand manner using georeferenced reports with photos on GeoCitizens’ digital map. Using this channel, municipal authorities have the opportunity to inform and initiate discussion among participants. This module also offers the possibility to capture and attach audio recordings.

Module 3: Proposal
Integration of concrete project ideas
The third module develops concrete proposals for projects or initiatives based on the ideas and suggestions collected from the two previous modules. The digital discussion platform that is integrated in GeoCitizens facilitates a structured and transparent discussion process. A municipal representative or a third-party individual (e.g. facilitator, citizen) moderates the discussion. The digital discussion and development process may be further complemented by in-person participant meetings (e.g. workshops, regular citizen gatherings), as well as through existing social media platforms, such as Facebook groups.

Module 4: Realisation
Evaluation and quality control
The proposals developed in the third module are evaluated by participants in the fourth module, and serve as the basis for future decision-making. These evaluations give municipal authorities an informed impression about the quality of each proposal based on ratings from the entire group of participants.

Geocitizen was commissioned by the academy of the future and the federal state of Upper Austria with support of the regional management Upper Austria under the “Agenda 21” program. The project was developed for two pilot communities.
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