CeDEM14 Workshops

Workshops held at CeDEM14

  • CitizensForum – Methodology and Software Going Open Source (Hans Hagedorn, Hannes Rudzik)

  • Making All Voices Count (Chris Underwood and Marjan Besuijen)

  • E-Participation in Slum Upgrading in Mtwapa, Kenya  (Peter Sonntagbauer, (FUPOL)

  • Maximizing the Public Value of Open Government: A Workshop on CTG’s Strategic Planning Approach (Meghan Cook)

  • Sensor and Government Open Data: their Role in Public Policy (AIT: Peter Widhalm, Martin Litzenberger, Ross King, Reinhard Kloibhofer, Georg Neubauer; BRZ: Robert Harm)

  • E-Governance Across the Globe (Peter Sonntagbauer, Joshua Mulandi Maviti)

CitizensForum – Methodology and Software Going Open Source (Hans Hagedorn, Hannes Rudzik)

Hans and Hannes present the CitzensForum from two perspectives, the participants‘ and the community management’s as well as two examples (Marburg and Oldenburg). With the participants they discuss the tools, the methodology and the use of Open Source are discussed as a way of improving the platforms.


Making All Voices Count (Chris Underwood and Marjan Besuijen)

Chris Underwood presented the grant program “Making All Voices Count” that supports initiatives in 12 countries in Africa and Asia. The aim of these programs is to include a growing share of a usually diverse citizenry in political decision making. Advances in technologies open new opportunities for engagement, but there is no automatic mechanism harnessing these novel possibilities. In fact, democratic systems in the 21st century continue to be inhibited by 19th century timescales, with only occasional opportunities for citizens to express their views formally, such as during elections.

Governance and e-democracy reform has higher accountability of government institutions as a goal, but what projects could accomplish that given the right amount of funding? Despite the underlying assumption that transparency and accountability are closely connected, the task of transform political systems to be more transparent and accountable remains highly complex and clear causal relationship can hardly be established.

A key element of participation is to influence the level and quality of interaction between citizens and public authorities and thereby trigger an movement towards more T+A (transparency and accountability). Due to different realities on the ground it is important to approach problems in an interdisciplinary way in order to find more general problem solving mechanisms.

Yet there are still serious obstacles: One it the problem of assessing the actual impact of a particular program. The complexity of governance reform makes clear cut pathways to specific results difficult – management has to be adaptive and take unforeseen developments into account. Some of the issues that were debated included:

  • Citizens lack incentives: Citizens may not have the necessary incentives to express their feedback on government performance – due to a sense of powerlessness, distrust in the government, fear of retribution, or lack of reliable information;
  • Governments lack incentives: Governments need incentives to react to citizen input. The government’s response to citizens should be reinforced by proactive, public communication;
  • Governments lack the ability to translate citizen feedback into action. This could be due to a number of reasons including political constraints to more technological or bureaucratic obstacles;
  • Citizens lack meaningful opportunities : Citizens need better ways to engage with government and access to the necessary skills and tools;

A key finding of the workshop was that regional specifics have to be taken into account as much as possible. The search for generalizing conclusions has to be maintained, but actual implementation phases have to be executed in the local context.


E-Participation in Slum Upgrading in Mtwapa, Kenya  (Peter Sonntagbauer, FUPOL)

Peter introduces UN-Habitat and the PSUP. The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme was designed in 2002 and first implemented by UN-Habitat in Somalia. The UN-Habitat works with the least developed countries to reach the target of improving the living conditions of people in slums (lack of potable water, sanitation,…). Since 2013, the UN-Habitat and FUPOL are full partners.

FUPOL aims to support with tecniques/solutions in five steps (from agenda setting to monitoring). The presentation deals  with more detailed information about the PSUP that applies a human right approach (as – for example – the right to participate in public decision-making). The implementation inlcudes three phases:

  1. urban profiling: local country team of 10 people presenting a mixture of institutions (NGO, civil society, private sector, academia,…)
  2. participatory action planning & programme formulation
  3. participatory pilot project implementation (it is aimed that it will not be a pilot that will end, but it is called “pilot”)

The advantages of E-Participation are pointed out (e.g. better informed citizens). Mtwapa was chosen because of the small population and because of it is easy to reach. Important aspects concerning legislature and policies are remarked.

The technical support and the concrete features are defined, devided in two categories:

  1. passive E-Participation (twitter, facebook): what are people talking about in general?
  2. active E-Participation: platform called “ongea”, where specific information about the slum-upgrading-project ist posted and a facebook-page, where people can post and information is exchanged

The collected data is analysed by FUPOL. Another channel, newspaper-articles, is also observed. Of interest is for example the question, who can be identified as an opinion leader. Concerning some of the postings, it is known where they come from. Hotspots can be located and it is possible to – for example – find out where something is not working. The graphic which is referred to shows a lot is posted in Mtwapa.

FUPOL use questionnaires and instead of maps (some people of slums have troubles with orientation on maps),  satellite-pictures are used. (People can tell “we need sanitation here” – in a certain area of satellite-picture)

After giving an overview of the technical features, the attention is drawn to the current status. FUPOL recruited so-called “community mobilizers”: young people with the task to approach citizens; they shall help them understand how they can post their opinion or talk to them and post their opinion/what they want to say in their name; Mr. Sonntagbauer thinks this is the best approach. If people come together there,  the community mobilizers can be a kind of “link” between people and technology.

As one of the success factors, the “field office” was mentioned. It was created to overcome any digital devide. Two computers are available there, which people (who have none) can use.


Maximizing the Public Value of Open Government: A Workshop on CTG’s Strategic Planning Approach (Meghan Cook)

Unfortunately, we do not have a summary for this workshop 😦


Sensor and Government Open Data: their Role in Public Policy (AIT: Peter Widhalm, Martin Litzenberger, Ross King, Reinhard Kloibhofer, Georg Neubauer; BRZ: Robert Harm)

Georg Neubauer (Austrian Institute of Technology= AIT)

Introduces AIT


Peter Widhalm

Focuses on IT Support for collecting trip data. The graphic shows that traffic flows can be observed by  passively collected cell phone data. The use of smartphones and apps can assist traditional mobility surveys. The combination of cell phone data with other data sources leads to rich and up-to-date information about human travel behavior. Cell phone data help to predict the effects of policies before their implementation.


Reinhard Kloibhofer (AIT – inTegreen)

The project in Tegreen: shows how traffic and environmental data is collected in a new way. An example is air flow control, where sensors measure the air quality/pollution. Tests were held in Vienna and Bolzano on urban roads and highways. The  results are shown using different coloures to represent the conditions of air. Whilst awareness is raising there are difficulties, such as  how to inform tourists. Options maay be Facebook, Twitter,flyers, car stickers. In the end the responsibility concerning the control of traffic lies with us all!


Martin Litzenberger (AIT)

The (temporal, spatial, semantic, technical, political) heterogenity of collected data is a challenge.  He investigates the effects of traffic and local air quality using different data sources. He stresses that there is a large amount of data around, which is currently mostly unused. There is some lack of cooperation and interoperability.


Ross King  (AIT)

After having worked on archiving the books for libraries, his research focuses now on digital preservation: the E-ARK- project  which runs until 2017. The aim is to have one open source package, which an institution can download so that it will have everything it needs. Reaccess to the data in future in the original version shall be guaranteed (e.g. concerning legislation very important). Preservation is insurance!


Robert Harm (BRZ)

Robert presents data.gv.at, which is the central catalogue for open government data in Austria. A great success is help.gv.at, which provides lots of information. Especially those, who otherwise wouldn’t  benefit from Open Data, can be reached this way. He mentioned the “Amtsgeheimnis” (confidentiality) as an aspect that needs to be considered.


E-Governance Across the Globe (Peter Sonntagbauer, Joshua Mulandi Maviti)

Peter Sonntagbauer presents the FUPOL project, in particular the cases in Barnsley (UK), Yantai (China), Mtwapa (Kenya). Using a range of tools, they analyse and measure the impact of policy decisions (“what would happen if”) in urban planning. To ensure citizen engagement and participation with policy decisions,  FUPOL projects use multiple channels (social media, print media, radio and TV) – although in some cases (e.g. in China), there a certain legal challenges (no Facebook), events (“Snowden”), social (who is involved?) and technical aspects that need to be considered in each project.




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