Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Citizen-inspired e-government for 'thin-skinned' cities

13.08.2008
Three European city councils have joined forces to develop a new citizen-inspired tool that will increase the responsiveness of city services to user needs.

E-government is the ‘in’ thing and a growing number of public services can now be delivered online. A major challenge faced, however, is how to get citizens more involved in public life and encourage greater interaction between the public sector and the man in the street.

Three city authorities – Dublin, Helsinki and Barcelona – decided to get together to develop a new tool aimed primarily at improving citizen involvement in civic affairs and increasing the responsiveness of local services.

“All three cities already had special projects underway aimed at ‘e-enabling’ certain parts of the city and were working closely with local universities to achieve this aim,” says John Donovan, the project coordinator. “[But] we decided to join forces, along with a number of private companies, to develop a set of tools aimed specifically at facilitating citizen communication.”

Giving citizens a voice

The EU-funded ICiNG project was the result. Its platform and a range of services were launched at a conference of European City Administrations held in Barcelona, Spain, in June 2008.

“These are citizen-based tools, designed by citizens and for citizens, but that can also be accessed by city authorities in order to improve their services,” Donovan tells ICT Results after the launch.

The consortium behind the project set out to research new concepts of e-government based on a multi-modal, multi-access approach a so-called “thin-skinned city” – one that is sensitive to the needs of its citizens and to the local environment.

One of the first steps was to approach local community groups to determine real needs and preferred means of communication. The ICiNG platform provides more opportunities for citizens to influence the decision-making process and develop a shared understanding of city issues. It should also contribute to community building in city environments and go some way towards reducing the ‘democratic deficit’.

Easy integration and multi-modal access

Access to the ICiING tools is enabled through multiple devices (home computer, portable hand-held devices or mobile phones, environmental sensors) and at different levels. The intelligent infrastructure developed makes it possible to have both a public administration services layer and a ‘Communities’ layer.

One of the main components of the platform is the Urban Mediator software which enables communities to mediate local, location-based discussions, activities and information. UM uses interactive maps to represent local information and provides a set of tools for users to process, share and organise this information.

City administrations interested in using ICiNG’s tools benefit from an “invisible” communications platform which can be easily integrated within the existing information and communication structure.

“One of the concerns for administrations is that they do not want to dismantle their existing communications infrastructure. [Our] platform can be simply ‘wrapped around’ the existing structure to provide an extra service layer. This limits the costs involved in implementing it,” points out Donovan.

The consortium has also published what it calls its ‘ICiNG Cook Book’, a recipe for becoming an ICiNG city, which explains in detail how the platform works and what advantages cities can gain from implementing it.

Building the ‘sensitive’ city

Thanks to the collection of important feedback from citizens, ICiING hopes to contribute to the development of the ‘sensitive’ city, where response to citizen needs is improved and citizen input into local projects is efficiently integrated into final plans. Pilot projects are being implemented in the three participating cities in various areas.

In Barcelona, a combination of blue-tooth environmental sensors and citizen feedback are being used to monitor the traffic flow in a specific area of the city in order to gather information for a new traffic flow plan.

In Dublin, citizens are being asked to participate in the city’s accessibility audit, aimed at identifying areas where access may be difficult for handicapped or disabled persons. Using the ICiING platform, citizens can take photos of problem spots with their mobile phones and send them in to the city authorities with a comment. The platform can then organise the information received on the map interface, making it easy for city planners to access.

Similarly, the platform is being used to deliver improved citizen services. It will, for example, enable residents to report bins that need collecting. Residents need simply take a photo of the special plaque on the bin in question and send it (or simply the code) in to the city authorities. The platform will automatically locate the exact position of the bin and someone will be sent to deal with the request.

The potential application areas are very wide and the ICiING platform is expected to attract the attention of many other European cities keen to improve citizen participation.

ICiNG was funded by the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for research.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>