CitYsens - empowering local civic engagement
 Posted on 25/02/2014 - 15:06
Idea Outline
A local networking platform that facilitates meaningful civic engagement. Empowers citizens to network with each other and coordinate initiatives and resources, while also strengthening government capacities to communicate and collaborate with them.

The Challenge
Democracy is in crisis. Citizens do not feel well represented and would like to get more involved in nearby issues. But despite the wide use of social networks and smart phones, it is still very difficult to get to know all engagement opportunities around you. This needs to change. Our project is based on an inclusive and emancipatory vision of participation: it aims to strengthen governments' capacities to establish a collaborative and ongoing dialogue with citizens, but also to empower citizens themselves to interconnect with each other autonomously and coordinate actions, initiatives and resources required to address their interests and needs. Our connective platform provides the tools, guidance and incentives that will drive a surge in civic actions and strengthen local democracy.

The Solution

CitYsens works as a "social network for civic engagement": a shared local calendar which is regularly used by people and all kinds of institutions to inform and be informed about all civic initiatives happening in the city. In CitYsens we all can find -and share!- information on events that will occur, are occurring or have already occurred, thus maximizing their positive effects. CitYsens provides a connective grid for the city, a "civic neural system" which allows its inhabitants to think, imagine and act together with more vitality, effectiveness and empathy than is possible now. We have already pre-assessed CitYsens' necessity and viability (see - incl. subs); CHEST award will allow our network of allies to validate our model with a pre-prototype.

Target group and social impact
CitYsens will benefit the entire population of the cities where it is implemented. Citizens, administrations and all types of organizations can profit from the continued use of spaces for dialogue and civic mobilization. For sure: not everyone can participate in everything, or engage with the same intensity. CitYsens serves active and engaged citizens as well as those who wish to participate less or those who just want to keep informed. It even serves those who do not participate at all, as they will indirectly benefit from the involvement of their fellow citizens. CitYsens provides a "platform for collective learning", enabling a real "smart governance" for our cities. Its gamification strategy provides incentives that motivate us all to care for our neighbors & nurture the commonwealth.

Competences of the applicant
Our association has action-researched on (e)Participation in Europe and Latin-America for years. The results of these investigations led to the publication of articles, monographs, teaching materials, educational videos, and finally, even a PhD thesis. CitYsens culminates and puts into practice all work we conducted so far. Our team includes people with different profiles, distributed worldwide.

Video Link
See video

Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement

  • Tecnology Category
  • Geolocation
  • Open Source
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

  • Please log in to Rate this Idea
    Idea Submitter

    Thank you all for your encouraging comments.
    It could be interesting for you to know that CitYsens is being designed and built by means of a collaborative process actively involving its future users, including citizens, social movements, the media, elected officials and government bodies.
    If you want to get involved and be a part of our "Pioneers' collective" (our co-designers and alpha-testers)... we would be delighted to have you onboard.
    Thanks and regards!!
    Pedro - member of CitYsens team

    Idea Submitter

    Good news!!
    We have been selected within the GameChangers program of UnLtd Spain.
    It's an incubation program that aims to support promising social enterprise projects.
    So far, we are just one of the 29 "finalists" (selected from 450 candidates).
    During this month we are receiving first class, intensive workshops on different subjects related to social entrepreneurship (72 hours of workshops in 4 weekends). In June, 15 of the candidates will be selected as "GameChangers" and will have access to UnLtd network of mentors and entrepreneurs for 10 months and receive personalized guidance and support.

    Let's hope we make it!! The mentoring from UnLtd together with the financial support from CHEST would clearly increase our chances to be successful and create social and environmental value!!

    Idea Submitter

    And indeed!! We were finally selected as one of the 15 GameChangers 2014!!

    This means that for the next months we will have a "mentor" who for sure will help us prepare a better plan for CHEST, in case we are selected in Call 1. In this plan we will explore in detail the technical feasibility, social impact potential and the commercial viability of our initiative.

    In fact, we are already thinking about a prototype and about potential locations that could host the first pilots of CitYsens.
    As you may possibly know, after the last European Elections the situation in Spain has got even more appropriate for an initiative like ours.
    Many people are eager to have more participation, more democracy, specially at the municipal level.

    And if we make it work here... it will certainly be easier to "export" it to some other European countries.

    We want to thank you all one more time for your comments, support and your positive evaluations of our proposal.

    The CitYsens Team

    This can be an effective tool for social dynamization and feedback between the population and the institutions for the benefit of empowering citizens.

    A useful tool for social groups to create nexus and sinergies.

    This idea could be a game changer to make people´s interests more inclusive in the current european political context.

    It is a revolution in the world of citizen participation that seeks to solve common problems where really understand.

    I think is the next step to make a better collaborative agenda for the different collectives of the cities. All of them will be connected with institutions, associations and citizens. I hope it will be working asap to make more dynamic and effective the social powerful.

    Wonderfull tool for deployment