Cupum 2013 - Cubo da Participação


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The main goal of this book chapter is to present a framework for analysis of online participation platforms. Recently, the whole range of various participation platforms emerged and there is a need for a model, which would enable to analyze their specific characteristics. The framework presented in this chapter, the participatory cube, is based on models proposed by Fung (2006) and Ferber et al. (2007). It consists of three axes which include interactive communication, access to space of participation, and decision power. These three categories play a major role in the analysis of the implemented study cases. The study cases were taken from two countries; Germany and Brazil. We concentrated on the selection of a variety of different examples of technologies that support to give voice to citizens either as an actor or as principal interlocutor of civil society organizations, aiming to offer, inform or try new ways and solutions to problems and issues raised by contemporary urban life. The participatory cube served as the model for the comparison of the selected cases. We conclude the article with a discussion about the framewok and further research directions.

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Cupum 2013 - Cubo da Participação

  1. 1. The Participatory Cube: A Framework for Analysis of Online Participation Platforms Alenka Poplin | HafenCity University Hamburg, Germany Gilberto Corso Pereira | Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil Maria Célia Furtado Rocha | PRODEB, Salvador, Brazil CUPUM 2013, July 2-5, University of Utrecht
  2. 2. Communication between the planning agencies and citizens: • Participation as a matter of right since mid-1950s • Mandate to engage the public | minimum possible effort • Often complex urban planning projects • Expert vs. Non-expert Citizen´s responses: • Rational ignorance • Protests • Increasing lack of trust Inneficient participatory processes in urban planning. The problem of civic engagement in urban planning Stuttgart: October 2010 | 100.000 people demonstrating
  3. 3. • Town-hall meetings • Round tables • Speed-dating • …. • Games Abt (1970). Serious Games Sanoff (1979). Design Games Dissadvantage: They require a physical presence on a specific day at a specific time. Non-digital methods of participation in urban planning "Good - Let's say we agree." (Cartoon by Pierre Kroll)
  4. 4. Defined by Habermas as “a realm of our social life, in which something approaching public opinion can be formed” (Habermas 1974: 49). It presents a domain of social life in which public opinions can be expressed. Its ultimate goal is public discourse and debate related to a variety of issues relevant for the society and individuals. Papacharissi (2009), in a contemporary democracy, the citizen can act from a private sphere, whereas previously their engagement would have been activated through the public sphere. Internet | Public Sphere
  5. 5. Recent developments in technologies enable citizens to share their knowledge and information online. Urban Sensing Campbell, Eisenman et al. (2006) refer to such processes as people centric urban sensing in which citizens act as sensors. Goldman et al. (2009) defined as “a new collective capacity…in which people participate in sensing and analysing aspects of their lives that were previously invisible.” Web 2.0 | Citizens as sensors
  6. 6. Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) Goodchild (2007a, 2007b) focuses on a particular use of geographic information and citizens collecting and contributing geographic information via online platforms. Examples: Wikimapia and OpenStreetMap which enable the citizens to create global network of “mappers”. Web 2.0 | VGI
  7. 7. Recently, the whole range of various freely available online participation platforms designed for the citizens or organizations emerged. They implement concepts like urban sensing, volunteered geographic information, crowd-sourcing. There is a need for a model, which would enable to analyse their specific characteristics in a systematic way. Motivation for our research
  8. 8. Built on the models proposed by Fung (2006) and Ferber et al. (2007) • Decision power Capacity to transform opinions into decisions and actions Lukes (1974) Power a Radical View Arnstein (1969) Ladder of Citizen Participation • Interactive communication Forms of interaction within the community; direction of communication and ways of communication • Access to the space of participation Importance for placing and sharing public opinions through the democratic exchange of ideas Framework for the analysis
  9. 9. The Participatory Cube
  10. 10. Examples | Case Studies Implemented online platforms – examples of volunteered geographic information, urban sensing, virtual sphere Examples from Brazil and Germany Methodology: The Participatory Cube
  11. 11. Its main goal is to collect the information about empty apartments or offices in Germany. Leehrstandsmelder
  12. 12. Leehrstandsmelder
  13. 13. It aims at getting information about the infrastructure in the commune that needs to be fixed. Maerker Brandenburg and Berlin
  14. 14. Maerker Brandenburg and Berlin
  15. 15. It enables the users to participate in a discussion forum, enter their suggestions for the protection against climate change on the interactive map, and vote for other’s suggestions. Climate change in Elmshorn
  16. 16. The citizen registered on site can report a problem in the city of São Paulo, classify it according to the predetermined themes - transit, transport, garbage, noise, etc. – add a date, address and attach photos, videos. Urbanias
  17. 17. Urbanias on the Facebook | Urbaville
  18. 18. It aims to discuss the history, present and future of the city of Porto Alegre, capital of State of Rio Grande do Sul. Portoalegre
  19. 19. A platform for political participation, where citizens and organizations can express their opinions and mobilize towards a better city. Cidade Democrática
  20. 20. Results of the analysis
  21. 21. The Participation Cube concentrates on the aspects of • interactive communication, • the ways the users can access the content published on the platform, and • the decision power that the users can/or cannot gain through their online participatory activities. It enabled to structure the analysis around three suggested axes and provided the framework for the analysis of the selected study cases. Conclusions
  22. 22. • The majority of the platforms enable high level of access to the content and to the possibilities to participate. • The use of maps is still very limited; only some of the platforms included an option of interacting with maps: Complex Difficult to implement • Recent initiatives for free and open data stimulate further development of participatory platforms. • There is a growing need for people to express opinions freely and through the accessible media. Conclusions | Trends and Issues
  23. 23. I hope you enjoyed my presentation! Contact: Alenka Poplin, PhD Democracy Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA Assoc. Professor at HafenCity University Hamburg E-Mail: