| Posted on 19/05/2014 - 14:55|
GeOpinion is a GIS web application combining decision analysis, optimization, and narrative visualization for participatory regional planning. The main idea with Optimus, is to empower citizens to become preference explorers.
It is clear that participation has become a highly political issue over the last few years. There is much talk of apathy, the democratic deficit, people turning away from politics, declining voter turnout, decreasing membership of political parties, etc., all fears for which there is some justification. However, there is also real evidence that people can be mobilised to participate even in this apathetic age using new ICT tools. Indeed, the desire for engagement and participation across society is certainly not dead, but its nature may have changed both in terms of the issues people are interested in and the mechanisms which should be used to engage them. These are all questions to which we do not as yet have any definitive answers, but aim to address within our research project.
The system should display a map of a municipality, divided into residential areas. The user should be able to choose among a set of actions, where each action for each residential area has an associated value, which could either be disagreement (negative) or agreement (positive). This value should have an associated colour, ranging from negative to positive, e.g., red to green. When the user then selects the preferred combination (that is, a portfolio) of actions, the associated colours are then aggregated and displayed over each residential area. The user can thereby explore how different combinations of actions affect his or herself and other citizens.
Target group and social impact
Never before have there been such contradictory and auspicious developments in thinking about how all sections of European society can engage in policy making and political debate. On the one hand, it is clear that many have disengaged from formal politics, and there is a widespread sense of a loss of trust in government and politicians. On the other hand, there is a surge of grass-root, often single issue engagement in policy making, and there are more outlets and channels enabling participation. Much of this is supported, and in fact driven forward, by new ICT tools. In this spirit, the target group of our solution is indeed broad, ranging from the single issue activist, local businesses, and politicians.
Competences of the applicant
Samuel Bohman is PhD Student in Computer Science at Stockholm University with 10+ years of experience in media industry and Swedish government sector. Skills: graphic design, web design, social science, decision analysis. Tobias Fasth is PhD Student in Computer Science at Stockholm University with 5+ years of experience in private IT sector. Skills: web programming, web design, decision analysis.
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