The goal of EDEN is to allow a true bi-directional communication between citizens and Public Administration's staff. The project will achieve this goal by defining a multimedia platform for democratic consultation. The software platform will integrate tools based on new emerging technologies (NLP and Mobile Communication Protocols) in order to improve the accessibility and user-friendliness; it will be designed according to user requirements emerging from current problems and experiences in civic consultation; the pilot sites will develop applications in the domain of Urban Planning, based on the common platform, to perform real test and collect results.
The general objective of the EDEN Project is the improvement of communication between Public Administrations (PA) and citizens in decision-making processes. The improvement to be obtained will be threefold: qualitative by simplifying access to professional quality data (support through Natural Language Processing (NLP) or by providing different views of a linked city map electronically; quantitative by offering access using different media, in order to reach the generally missing mass participation to Public Administration processes; and economically, by reducing the cost per citizens' participation action. Such an ambitious objective will be reached through the integration of tools into existing infrastructures which allow citizens to dialogue with the Public Administration using their natural language, so obtaining a direct pre-structured and, at the same time, richer interaction. Such tools will be developed for general purpose - thus as reusable as possible. The application context which has been chosen for carrying out pilots is that of urban planning networks, which involve a number of different groups, such as city-planners, architects, affected citizens. Communication of those groups will be managed by integration into existing workflow technologies and by using GroupWare and unified messaging systems (UMS).
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The EDEN project has been structured into seven workpackages and four major milestones, covering two development phases (early and final pilot). Besides the activities of management and exploitation, the project structure guarantees a constant internal and external monitoring of activities in order to fit completely the project's objectives. After a phase during which users requirements will be collected, so to draw most exactly the application context, such requirements will be deeply analysed and consequently translated into formally well defined functional specifications. These will be expressed with widespread, standard tools, in order to reduce to a minimum any risk of misunderstanding between technicians and users (who will be called to validate them). Once a set of functional specifications is obtained the project will proceed towards the development of Natural Language Processing tools and their integration into city planning tools such as geographical navigation, informal discussion forum, GroupWare applications, or polling service, whilst following a UMS approach. Cyclic testing phases will be performed in order to verify both that developed tools fit the application context and the pilot sites infrastructures, and that such tools are actually effective within the general framework of Public Administrations/citizens interaction in each pilot city. During the whole project life cycle, a monitoring of the quality of results will be carried out.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
42100 Reggio Emilia
37-450 Stalowa Wola
EH14 1DJ Edinburgh