Networked citizens and the city


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This is my presentation for the Cognitive Cities Conference in Berlin. The presentation is about how cities and citizens can collaborate to develop better cities and society by using participatory platforms, open processes, people skills and a defined purpose.

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  • My name is Magnus\nI am happy to be here today\nI will speak about my experiences with building digital platforms for engagment & participation in city life and development\n\n
  • I was at a conference about public service innovation about a week ago in Copenhagen\nSome international speakers - people from around Europe\nthere seemed to be a consesus that society as we know it - the welfare state - is being challenged\n- We have a growing elderly population\n- Not enough money to finance their support\n- We can not raise taxes to bridge the gap\n\n
  • At the same time these experts where saying our government bodies are to big and to inefficient\nWe cannot afford to have as many employed in the government anymore\nLess people means new ways to work\n
  • So the main point from the conference was that we need a new balance of responsibility between state and society\n- away from government provide\n- towards citizen action\n\n- much like the initiativ of this conference\n
  • and if we need more citizen action we need more access to others, to people we can work together with\n\nthis conference have been alot about data - and we need data. \nBut I tend to think that we need people even more. \nIts people that needs to be able to do stuff (with all the data and with each other)\n
  • I want to tell you about a project I have been involved in together with the municipality of CPH. My idea is that it can help us understand how a platform for the city can help us create and coordinate more citizen action.\nThis project is still being developed\nIn my eyes its a prototype for a platform for the city\nIn this case its context is bicycling\n
  • Copenhagen have invested heavily in infrastructure, in where people are biking\nNot in behaviour, how people are biking\nPrimarily accidents related to cars & trucks, but still...\n
  • It started out as a communication project\nTalking about the norms and culture of bicycling\nTo create understanding and change\n
  • The idea that language changes the way we behave is noble and valid.\nBut our approach was different - people need to talk, but they also need to be able to act together.\n
  • So IbikeCPH consisted of a lot of physical activities - much like ongoing campaigns - headed by the city\nBut when inviting people to participate - you need to ask “what do they want to participate in?”\nAnd how do we build for that?\n
  • The mayor wanted IbikeCPH to support his ambition of CPH being the best bike city in the world\nBut thats not a reason for ME to participate\n
  • Even though the goal might be the same we need to design for different ways of participation\n
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  • Self interest - there needs to be something in it for me\nBe seen and heard - there needs to be acknowledgement and meaning\nTrust - there needs to be a sense that other participants are my peers\n
  • heres a model by butterfield & webb, modified by mygdal by introducing engestrøms social object\nbasically it gives us a set of parts to consider when we are building a networked platform. \nsocial object - is what people engage and socialise through (a photo on flickr, a soundbite on soundcloud)\n\n
  • In the case of IbikeCPH the social object could be \na project/initiative\na tip/an idea\na place/proximity\n\n
  • Another important part is the identity.\nWhats my identity in the city - how do I describe my self (on ibike... i can indicate what type of biker i am)\nwhat do I participate in and what do I share? \nHow do we take what I as a citizen say and do for the city and present that so that others can interact around it?\n
  • In order to participate on different levels we also need different formats \n
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  • Create connection between physical and digital activities\n
  • So a focus on the individual and the community of interest \nA focus on taking initiatives on behalf of oneself and the city\nA sense of meaning, identity and belonging\n
  • In an ideal world. \nThis is really important because this is what cities and government is not today. \nOne thing is setting data free, being able to share etc. what you produce\n
  • But for this to work the city needs to participate themselves. \nToday the processes of participation in city life/public service life is bound by campaigns and activities in shorter time-spans\n\n\n
  • But we need the city and the citizens on the same platform\nLong term collaboration and development\nParticipation from politicians, public servants and citizens\n
  • We need to move from talking about the city towards a collaborative development of the city\n
  • Creating the context\nCall for actions\nExplaining what a user can/should do\nShow activity\n
  • Ways to share ideas, good tips, tricks, activity around bikes in cph\n
  • Communities based on profile and the way you think you ride a bike\n
  • User created groups\nOrganise and coordinate activities among each other\n
  • People using the platform to organise\nSaturday biking hockey events\n
  • People using the platform creating their own logos\nGiving input and contributing to the development of the platform and project\n
  • Some activity today\nI see it as a prototype\nIts a design process - how can you build the platform of the city\n\n
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  • Dont invite people to do something you dont want part in\nCopenhagen Municipality *did not* participate in IbikeCPH. \n\n\n
  • You need to have a defined approach or process\n\nA) Direct process - asking for input from municipality, getting ideas/help from citizens - less activism perhaps more based on a business/organisational process\nB) A platform like what we wanted to build, a operational system/platform for the city\n
  • Why are you inviting people - what will you do with what you get\nWhat is the “contract of participation”?\nWhat does the city need to be done - what makes sense to put effort into\nA shift in mindset from the city’s side\n\n
  • What are you giving people - what can they expect from you?\nthe city needs to make stuff happen\nor remove obstacles so that citizens can make stuff happen\n\n
  • Public servants is perhaps more a facilitator of urban development, an activism in their own right, than a enforcer of law and bureaucracy\nwhat is his/her main work interface in the future?\na word document? a networked platform?\n\n
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  • Networked citizens and the city

    1. 1. Networked citizens & the cityor the city as a platform
    2. 2. I amMagnus, husband,sociologist, chaospilot,partner and managing director of @socialsquare
    3. 3. ON A HIGH-LEVELthe wellfare state is beingchallenged
    4. 4. I’VE HEARD THAT...500.000 public servantsare being laid off in the UK
    5. 5. we need a balance ofresponsibility between stateand society
    6. 6. AS CLAY SHIRKY NOTED...we need not access to moreinformationbut more access to otherpeople
    7. 7. BACKGROUND & THE MUNICIPALITY OF COPENHAGEN’S ISSUEApparently, more bikes than inhabitantsA lack of conscious notion of bicycle cultureNo common language around bikingNeeded to bring down accidents and death
    8. 8. Approach
    9. 9. Activism
    10. 10. DIGITAL ACTIVITIESWhat do people want toparticipate in?
    11. 11. WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO PARTICIPATE IN?- Make Copenhagen a bicycle city?- Create a positive bicycle culture inCopenhagen?- Be part of a movement for bettercircumstances for bikers?
    12. 12. CHALLENGEA shared ambition about behavioralchange, but individual ways to makeit happen
    13. 13. THE OBVIOUS TRUTH OF PARTICIPATIONPeople participate in different thingsPeople participate in different waysAnd for different reasons
    14. 14. PRE-REQUISITES FOR PARTICIPATIONSelf-interestBe seen & be heardTrust in peers
    15. 15. community conversations sharingidentity social object flow trust presence relations
    16. 16. THE SOCIAL OBJECTA project/initiativeA tip/an ideaA place/proximity
    17. 17. IDENTITYWhat do I participate in and with?How do I describe myself?
    18. 18. MEDIA FORMATSTextPhotosVideo
    19. 19. Concept
    20. 20. CONCEPTAn umbrellaA platformOne place gathering all “I bike CPH”initiativesSomething I can be a part of
    21. 21. CREATE CONNECTIONSBetween the physical events and thedigital signals around ideas, tips,projects and locations
    22. 22. CONCEPTPeople/ParticipationActivism/MovementOpen Source/Community
    23. 23. IDEAL PRAXISEverything shall be openEverything shall be sharedEverything shall be enabled for participation
    24. 24. CITY CITIZENIDEAL ORGANISATIONInternal and external on the same platformPublic servants, politicians and citizens areall members, are all participants
    25. 25. CITY DIGITAL BICYCLE CITIZEN MOVEMENTIDEAL ORGANISATIONInternal and external on the same platformPublic servants, politicians and citizens areall members, are all participants
    26. 26. From communication about thecityTo development of the city
    27. 27. 28
    28. 28. 29
    29. 29. 30
    30. 30. 31
    31. 31. 32
    32. 32. WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THIS PROTOTYPE SO FARLaunched in end of 2009658 users66 groups with 371 posts172 photos of bikes
    33. 33. What have we learned sofar?
    34. 34. what is needed in order fora city to enable its citizens?
    35. 35. PURPOSEthe city need to want itthey need to participate themselves
    36. 36. PROCESSa) ask for input, advice and assistanceb) provide tools -> data, platforms, identity
    37. 37. the city need to know what itwants from it’s citizens...input? or actions?
    38. 38. the city need to know what it changes? removal of obstacles?
    39. 39. PEOPLEwhat is the cities role and responsibility?what does a public servant do?how do they work?
    40. 40. The city needs toconsider its purpose,platforms, processes andpeople if they wantcitizens to act more onbehalf on society
    41. 41. Thanks for your
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