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Can social media promote a “meaningful”
relationship between communities and local
 authorities? Lessons from Aveiro, Port...
This presentation…
      a) Argues that increased community engagement
         in policy making creates important benefit...
Public participation, community
                     engagement and Social Media
            Public participation & commun...
In recognition of this importance, the notion of
            ‘eGovernment’ has become a major focus within EU main
       ...
Although new ICT is not the main cause of wider
            government changes, it can certainly be a key enabler and
    ...
A practical case: drawing on
                              experience

      a) Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement
        ...
Aveiro in Europe




JCMota & GSantinha   SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012   Online Conference, 6-...
Case 1-
                     Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement
                                                     •    A...
Case 1-
                     Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement


                                                   •     ...
Case 1-
                Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement
                                                  in four years ...
Case 1-
                     Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement
                                                          •...
Case 1-
Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement
             • movement launched a manifesto
               with key issues for ...
Case 1-
                     Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement
                                         • City Council des...
Case 2 –
                     Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio
                               • Although the requalification...
Case 2 –
                     Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio
                                               • a blog and a...
Case 2 –
                     Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio




JCMota & GSantinha   SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TO...
Case 2 –
                     Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio
                                        • the integrated use ...
Case 3 –
            Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central
                                                   • The proj...
Case 3 –
            Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central
                                                • Critics:
  ...
Case 3 –
            Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central
                                                         In 9...
Case 3 –
            Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central
                                                   Impacts:
 ...
Case 3 –
            Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central
                                             Was produced:
  ...
Case 3 – … Movimento Cívico Por Aveiro
                Participative Itinerant Roadmap
                                   ...
Key lessons learned
       1. The capacity of social media to transform virtual opinions
              and ideas into real...
2. The political reaction to civic movements that seek to
              counteract policy decisions

                     ...
3. The pedagogic and constructive nature of these civic
              movements and the way social media positively
      ...
4. The recognition of the social media technologies’
              significance in promoting citizens’ joint effort to set...
Final remarks…
       An important role for government: to act as a collaboration
   platform          it needs to pro-act...
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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UNIVERSITY, LOCAL AUTHORITIES, ADVOCAY AND BICYCLE INDUSTRY
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Can social media promote a “meaningful” relationship between communities and local authorities? Lessons from Aveiro, Portugal José Carlos Mota (jcmota@ua.pt) & Gonçalo Santinha (g.santinha@ua.pt)

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Smart communities connect jcm gs

  1. 1. Can social media promote a “meaningful” relationship between communities and local authorities? Lessons from Aveiro, Portugal POLITICS, LEADERSHIP & STRATEGIC GOVERNANCE Can technology give a voice to our communities? Session 5 José Carlos Mota (jcmota@ua.pt) & Gonçalo Santinha (g.santinha@ua.pt) Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences University of Aveiro - Portugal
  2. 2. This presentation… a) Argues that increased community engagement in policy making creates important benefits b) Underlines the importance of social media in these processes c) Presents a practical case (City of Aveiro, Portugal): the roots and impacts of three related civic initiatives JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  3. 3. Public participation, community engagement and Social Media Public participation & community engagement A core component of the official discourse The involvement of citizens in decisions about and the implementations of social and economic change Purpose 1: the right for citizens to be involved in the policymaking process and that their contribution may promote more sustainable and resilient solutions Purpose 2: the increase of public accountability for decisions concerning the allocation of public resources The introduction of ICT is making its own powerful contribution, hand-in-hand with other societal trends JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  4. 4. In recognition of this importance, the notion of ‘eGovernment’ has become a major focus within EU main strategic guidelines (e.g. eEurope 2005, i2010, Digital Agenda - one of flagships of Europe 2020) Most eGovernment research and practice over the past years has focused on the notions of i) eServices/ eAdministration and ii) eDemocracy/eParticipation Considered as a silo, a rather separate add-on to existing organisations and processes providing inputs for public-policy purposes mostly within formal systems Not applied in a joined-up manner across government functions JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  5. 5. Although new ICT is not the main cause of wider government changes, it can certainly be a key enabler and driver of them Social media are creating a way of participation that allow users to be: i) (not only) passive consumers of content and services, ii) (but also) active contributors and designers in their own right can act as drivers for collective engagement Participation (with the “e” contribution) working well is a one-piece of a government’s broader policy of openness, transparency and collaboration JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  6. 6. A practical case: drawing on experience a) Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement created in the city of Aveiro (Portugal); b) Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio; c) Contra a Ponte Pedonal JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  7. 7. Aveiro in Europe JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  8. 8. Case 1- Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement • A collective blog, • A civic platform, • A collaborative dynamic, • A ‘place’ to debate the future of Aveiro JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  9. 9. Case 1- Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement • after a public debate regarding the future of one of its main and historical avenues (2008) a blog & mailing-list were created • a virtual gathering place to share each ones’ opinion about the avenue and other related subjects; JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  10. 10. Case 1- Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement in four years (2008-2012) Blog: • 3.000 posts; 120.000 visits; 200.000 pagevisits; Mailing-list: • 340 members & 1.000 messages; inspired other civic movements and social media networks • Facebook Group ‘Aveiro 2020’ (more than 700 members) JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  11. 11. Case 1- Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement • first year (2008/2009) focusing on how one of the main squares of the city centre could be revived both in urban and cultural terms JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  12. 12. Case 1- Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement • movement launched a manifesto with key issues for developing public spaces with quality in Aveiro (Manifesto pelo Espaço Público); • a local film society (Cine-clube de Avanca) in collaboration with Amigosd’Avenida promoted a cinematographic activity called Aqui/Here (http://www.aqui- here.com/), with 10 short-films about 10 different public spaces located in 10 cities around the world.
  13. 13. Case 1- Amigosd’Avenida: a civic movement • City Council designed a project proposal and applied for funding from the National Strategic Reference Framework (2007-2013). • The project – Parque da Sustentabilidade (Sustainable Park) – aims at establishing a greenway crossing on a significant part of the city centre; • Even though legislation foresees public discussion for this type of projects, citizens were essentially informed through the Press. JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  14. 14. Case 2 – Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio • Although the requalification of its historical garden was foreseen, the proposal also included the design of a new road that would split the garden in two units, raising immediately several questions; • The potential harmful consequences of that proposal for recreational activities, road traffic and not least to the daily lives of residents, created the appropriate conditions to set up in 2010 a civic movement called ‘Contra o Alboi cortado ao meio’ (Against the cut of Alboi in half); JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  15. 15. Case 2 – Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio • a blog and a Facebook page, with approximately 2 500 friends • important initiative emerged during the discussions held through digital channels: Alboi Cortado ao meio? Não! (Alboi cut in half? No!), a poster that was disseminated throughout the community • the film director and musician Joaquim Pavão presented a short- film with a huge impact on the Internet, radio and national TV. JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  16. 16. Case 2 – Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  17. 17. Case 2 – Contra o Alboi Cortado ao Meio • the integrated use of web-based technologies allowed spreading efficiently the movements’ activities, helped sensitising people to the issues at stake, enhanced the impact of the activities and citizens’ voice, induced civic engagement and promoted a favourable environment to alter the project’s proposal. • in October 2011 the local government, facing a sensitive political context changed the initial proposal. JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  18. 18. Case 3 – Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central • The project Parque da Sustentabilidade also envisaged controversial issues, such as the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the central water channel aiming to link the central park Rossio with Alboi neighbourhood and related facilities, like restaurants and bars; JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  19. 19. Case 3 – Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central • Critics: – Location; – visual impact in central channel (in the hart of the city); – gentrification of old neighbourhood; – lack of global planning ; – respect of Urban Plan; JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  20. 20. Case 3 – Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central In 9 months: • 40 citizens – new civic movement – new mailing- list (more than 1.000 emails) • 1.670 citizens FB page • blog http://contrapontepedon alnocanalcentral.blogs.sa po.pt/ JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  21. 21. Case 3 – Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central Impacts: • 3.532 citizens subscribing petition against that location! • 4 public meetings - strong social mobilization & Active citizenship • Social media has provided the desirable boost to place the issue in the national media agenda, with several TV reports and newspaper opinion articles across the country; JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  22. 22. Case 3 – Contra a Ponte Pedonal no Canal Central Was produced: • Technical & Juridical documment; • Appeal concerning the nature fo the investment in times of difficulties and finnantial crisis; • Sent to National Government, Regional Auhtorities, Courts • Despite all the efforts, the local government did not respond (so far) to any of the challenges proposed; • But… a new civic movement was born! ‘Movimento Cívico Por Aveiro’ JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  23. 23. Case 3 – … Movimento Cívico Por Aveiro Participative Itinerant Roadmap Taking advantage ‘Aveiro Participative Budget ‘ a group of citizens from several civic movements submited a proposal - a Participative Itinerant Roadmap, that was selected in a public voting in a group of 23 projects. Idea Encourage the involvement of citizens and local actors in joint reflection on the future of their neighborhood, parish and county and identifying micro-proposals for action (low-cost, high impact). JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  24. 24. Key lessons learned 1. The capacity of social media to transform virtual opinions and ideas into real initiatives They can help but are not a sufficient condition It is fundamental the presence of a central number of persons that are able to ‘make the wheels go round’ and engage citizens in purposive efforts The number of participants that embrace these movements through the use of social media is also important, not only in motivating those already involved and providing fresh ideas, but also in amplifying the debate outside local boundaries JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  25. 25. 2. The political reaction to civic movements that seek to counteract policy decisions There is an overall perception from elected officials that civic movements of this kind have no democratic legitimacy There is no tradition in promoting public participation outside the common arenas And this often contributes to the disengagement of communities from civic activities JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  26. 26. 3. The pedagogic and constructive nature of these civic movements and the way social media positively contribute to this purpose Citizens mainly express themselves when a lot is at stake for them personally… However, they do get involved in such processes when they have more access to information, notice that there is a common share of ideas amongst the community and that their voices can be heard Social media can create a good support in this regard JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  27. 27. 4. The recognition of the social media technologies’ significance in promoting citizens’ joint effort to set direction for their community A necessary but not sufficient condition for encouraging civic engagement and public participation in policy making processes The important role of a small number of key actors to create the basic conditions for engaging the local community in discussions Although simple web-based technologies may be easy to use, a lack of digital skills and education is still noticeable (especially amongst elderly people) JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November
  28. 28. Final remarks… An important role for government: to act as a collaboration platform it needs to pro-actively articulate with communities and encourage the use of social media and indeed communities are changing from passive consumers to active users/producers Case studies show that it is necessary to create the key enablers and pre-conditions to make things happen (both digitally and non- digitally) But one thing is for certain: the way forward must embrace these new challenges JCMota & GSantinha SMART COMMUNITIES CONNECT - WORLD TOWN PLANNING DAY 2012 Online Conference, 6-7 November

Can social media promote a “meaningful” relationship between communities and local authorities? Lessons from Aveiro, Portugal José Carlos Mota (jcmota@ua.pt) & Gonçalo Santinha (g.santinha@ua.pt)

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