The city of Vienna supports neighborhood and community gardens under the motto “gardening together” and thus creates a framework that facilitates access to nature for residents of the city. The citizens of Vienna are increasingly taking up their garden implements and creating little gems of communal, self-determined urban cultivation. Under the banners of “urban farming” and “urban gardening” a framework is being created that promotes closeness to nature within the city and self-initiatives.
Be it volunteering projects for children and teens, designing community gardens, parks, roads or squares, the development of boroughs, or even “private” district initiative projects by “Lokale Agenda 21” or urban renewal and neighbourhood management – in total, over 300 projects and dozens of events every month are included in Vienna’s Volunteering Database and constantly updated. To simplify the process, current volunteering events in Vienna are also communicated via facebook and twitter.
The open consultation and direct democracy platform was launched by the city of Madrid after the recent municipal elections. Enables citizens to propose, debate priorities and implement policy for the city. On the website citizens can create a thread where they can discuss any topic they want to share with other people in the city, and can propose what they want the City Council to do and support proposals from other people. Citizen proposals that reach 1% of support will be put to a vote. The first six months of each year citizens can decide how to spend part of the city budget.
In developing countries, citizen engagement in the rapid growth and development that many cities are experiencing is not a priority. Even when city governments want to engage citizens, finding methods that effectively do this are often quite challenging. With “Block by Block”, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, and Mojang, makers of popular online game Minecraft, are exploring how the game could be used to find out how people want to see their cities develop in the future. Using the game, residents can build simple 3D models of their community.
Better Reykjavík is an online consultation forum where citizens are given the chance to present their ideas on issues regarding services and operations of the City of Reykjavík. Anyone can view the open forum and registered users who approve the terms of participation can participate in the forum. When a user presents an idea on the Better Reykjavík forum, it is automatically considered the public property of the residents of Reykjavík and the original idea can change considerably during the consultative process provided on this forum.
Beacons give objects a personality. They allow a doorway to welcome you and a picture to tell you about itself. They let you know you are near a product you like or that coffee is half price. They let a tourist sign explain itself in your language. In a way they are almost magical but the technology that made them is so simplistic a child could have invented it. Beacons are a also a great way for app developers engage with the internet of things for the first time.
Change by Us is a new platform in Amsterdam. The platform started in New York and is known by the name of Change by Us NYC. It allows innovative partnership in the city between citizens, city leaders, welfare organizations, housing corporations and government. The 'Idee voor je buurt' website will be tested until the end of 2014 in Amsterdam Slotermeer in cooperation with the Municipality of Amsterdam, Waag Society, Eigenwijks, Code for Europe and Amsterdam Smart City. When ideas are made visible it becomes very clear for everyone what kind of things are going on in the neighbourhood.
A city is a wonderfully complex environment with a diverse set of challenges. With topics ranging from transportation to energy and from education to the environment, there is a need for a generation of creative problem solvers. By involving young citizens early on, we can benefit from their fresh perspective. We furthermore have a chance of triggering their long-lasting engagement and cooperation for the city of tomorrow. The first edition of NxtCity will be held in Amsterdam at the end of August.
Research: To materialize Smart Projects in the city, involving residents is a crucial development, as we need to work together to build a Smarter City. Residents are often oblivious to the wide range of technological measures that can be undertaken to save both costs and environment; as well as the positive impact that they can exert in their neighbourhood. The game's purpose: The purpose of the game is to show residents the Smart Solutions already in existence, and to increase the number of bottom-up initiatives.
Forum Virium Helsinki has been exploring how digital services can open up the city, its history and even the city construction plans for the citizens. In fall 2014, pilots were run to test how augmented reality can be utilized in the urban planning of an old neighbourhood as well as in wayfinding services for the residents and tourists.