|CitYsens - empowering local civic engagement|
| Posted on 25/02/2014 - 14:06|
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.
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.
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 www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMDPV9ROzrY - 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.
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