Skip to main content

smart services for calculated impact assessment in open governance

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - smarticipate (smart services for calculated impact assessment in open governance)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-01-31

Publishing data on city portals as Open Data is a growing trend, also promoted by the EC. However, in most cases it is only raw dump of data. It is hard for laymen to interpret the data sets, yet even impossible to determine if the content is useable as mostly no meta-information is given. These challenges will be addressed by the smarticipate consortium and its solutions developed.
The smarticipate project aims to develop ICT tools for participatory applications, which use Open Data and other datasets. These applications will enable citizens to co-create, to co-design and to take informed decisions by getting feedback on their innovative participatory applications. Furthermore, citizens can share their ideas and opinions and thus enrich existing Open Data.
In this respect, smarticipate’s three pilot cities Rome, Hamburg and London (Royal Boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea) actively contribute to smarticipate’s applications and data acquisition. The project follows a rigorous development process which begins with the identification of the cities’ needs, gathering of their requirements and the definition of Urban Stories.
The overall objectives are:
• To enable structured interaction between authorities and citizens/businesses via the smarticipate communication platform
• To improve the information flow in the cities
• To create smarticipate applications, implementing automatic feedback technology
• To generate conditions for innovative authorities’ service provision
• To ensure the usefulness and market relevance for the targeted audience through piloting
• To establish pan-European dissemination and feedback loops
• To assist stakeholders in impact assessment for planned actions and analysis
In the first year the technical and conceptual baseline was set, for a stable, collaborative and citizens oriented platform. The platform increases the efficiency in urban planning processes and provides co-creation opportunities for the citizens to shape their living environment.
For the main activities supported by the platform the related requirements were specified. First, a questionnaire was elaborated by University of West of England, followed by Requirements Workshops. Thus, their needs, challenges and the available data and technologies were identified and scenarios for the different applications were elaborated.

Furthermore, three Smartathons were organized in the three cities by WeLoveTheCity, with the goal to gather criticism and suggestions for shaping the platform. Residents and entrepreneurs have plenty of ideas for their neighbourhood. The collected input for the development of the smarticipate tool resulted in eight lessons.
So called Urban Stories were defined, with functional examples how the platform will work. They serve to display the type of common issues that citizens, public authorities and businesses have in urban areas, and how smarticipate can help them tackle these issues.
The participants were mixed based on their interest. They looked into a specific Urban Story in their city, the Open Data linked to it and the matching Essential Features. Together as a group, they tackled these three topics and provided feedback and opinions through pitches, remarks on the posters and a final survey. Finally, experts of the smarticipate team gave insides into the latest technological development of the project throughout the day.

The project website is set up by ICLEI responsible for the dissemination of activities. Live case studies, published every three months on the website, reflect the specific participation challenges of the cities.

The requirements and the Urban Stories were consolidated and a Concept Camp was organized. This served to create a vision of the platform architecture via analysing the Urban Stories and the requirements gathered. The technical team is established among four partners, two research groups and two SMEs: Fraunhofer IGD, Austrian Institute of Technology, GeoVille and wetransform.
In the following, the system architecture was constantly refined and discussed. In order to validate e.g. the Graphical User Interface, AIT conducted user experiments with so called dynamic mock-up versions of the GUI. The architecture and the mock-ups were then presented and discussed at the Smartathons.

Dedicated workshops on the topic of automated feedback were conducted by Fraunhofer in Hamburg and Rome. Hamburg wants to compute automated feedback on citizens proposing tree planting positions. The automated feedback should indicate obstacles and restrictions for the positions considering given rules and conditions. A concept for formalizing and execution of such rules was elaborated and defined and embedded in the user interface.
The availability of freely accessible, standardized and quality assured Open Data is the basis for the development of the smarticipate system. The necessary Open Data requirements were established for each of the Urban Stories. The determined data requirements should enable the end users to assess the extent to which the required data is available. This is an important step, supported by GeoVille and wetransform towards the actual start of the designing and implementation of the smarticipate applications.
The ''dialog with the city'' goes beyond the currently available solutions of text-based dialog systems that compile databases to automate customer services, tax return processes, or voting procedures. This “dialog with the city” offers answers and ideally also comments to citizens' requests. For instance, when proposing the development of a new park at a certain location, the feedback should give an indication whether that is in principle possible. Apart from questions related to the feasibility of semantic processing of Open Data, the opportunities and constraints for their design have so far not been explored.
The biggest challenges are in the participatory user experience patterns and in the context-aware communication platform. The participatory user experience patterns provide a methodology for cities to create a sound e-participation front-end. smarticipate will provide a collection of templates for creating polls and issue mark-ups. The feedback mechanisms will also include visualizations of conflict alerts when user demands and feasibility/regulations do not match, and especially the costs and alternatives for achieving user demands. It will also provide more advanced interaction experience modules, such as for 3D spatial graphics. The context-aware communication platform enables the structured interaction with users and communities. Furthermore, an Open Data retrieval system, based on semantic annotation and impact assessment component, will enable access to appropriate data matching the requirements of the users.
smarticipate enables co-creation by citizens and communities. The following further impacts are addressed:
1. Improve the city’s information flow by making Open Data usable
2. Involve citizens in shaping the future of their neighbourhood by co-production of data through developing and applying own services, enabling participatory sensing of perceptions and opinions
3. Increase transparency of urban governance and planning activities through ICT assisted impact assessment
4. Transform democracy with open governance by improving administrative duties and processes with early participation, feedback and dedication from citizens
5. Create new business opportunities and ideas
Discussion at the smartathon in Rome
Project Logo
Impression from the smartathon in Rome