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Mireille Falque
Paysagiste-Urbaniste
Published on March 14, 2018

Reading time : 3 min

When digital tools promote civic activity

People today are becoming increasingly interested in making an active contribution to the improvement of their living conditions. Digital tools now exist to allow them to express themselves and take part in the formation of major infrastructure projects. This is the dawning age of Civic Tech!

Les citoyens ont leur mot à dire

Citizens have their say - Crédits : ALotOfPeople - Thinkstock

Citizens all have their opinion on how their living environment is planned. In an era dominated by social media and digital tech, a growing number of people wish to convey their expertise as users and voice their feelings as residents. Which is quite understandable, as they are the first to be affected by planning projects.

This is thus a new strategic and sensitive factor that cannot be ignored by politicians and project owners, who want their projects to be as widely accepted as possible in the framework of a controlled dialogue and within the boundaries of their constraints.

Building the living environment 2.0

Just imagine a close dialogue between project owners and local residents that is orderly, constructive and innovative. What a great idea, you might think. And it today already exists through crowdsourcing solutions developed by Egis. Christened “e-participative” solutions, three separate applications have been designed to form a framework for dialogue between residents, project owners and local politicians from the earliest planning stages of a project to its design then the supervision of its implementation. Based on a series of dematerialised tools combining web site, social media and geopositioned data, these solutions help to augment the project with the collective experience of residents and help it to be better understood and accepted through an interactive and organised exchange around with its stakes, constraints and orientations.

As part of the design of a project for example, the dialogue which can take place on the scale of a city or an urban region, uses a digital social platform open to all stakeholders on internet and social media. This platform is divided into three modules which throughout the project aim to offer an understanding of the project, encourage dialogue and facilitate decision making. The first module supplies modifiable information on the subject, the second collects ideas and proposals from citizens, sorted into themes and which can also be plugged into social media, and the third enables the project owner to consult public opinion on design alternatives.

Our online interface is a tool for information and consultation, but it also has an educational value as it enables people to better understand the major issues and limitations of a project, identify everyone’s role and better formulate needs in design phase. The system can be adapted to all types of project, from a town planning programme to urban developments or transport projects. It is also a good way of bringing technical expertise face-to-face with social acceptability. It is not the role of citizens to draw up the project, take decisions or take the place of other stakeholders, but rather to formulate, set out and express their expectations, wishes or objections. This is what successful co-design is all about!

Dispositif digital de participation citoyenne

Participative co-design: a 3-module interactive tool which enable dialogue to be initiated between the project’s stakeholders. The interface is secure and guarantees the traceability of all information. - Crédits : Egis

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