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Muscovites meet their neighbours online

Called Digital Home, the service is part of a project to develop micro-communities in the city

Moscow government wants citizens to influence the neighbourhoods in which they live
Moscow government wants citizens to influence the neighbourhoods in which they live

Moscow has introduced a digital communication service using a blockchain-based e-voting platform in a bid to further develop micro-communities in the city.


The service, called Digital Home, operates via the Active Citizen platform. It aims to encourage residents to communicate with one another via online meetings and to vote on issues like whether to install driveway access gates to a yard, replace a communal entrance door or engage a new management company.


According to figures released by Moscow city authorities, between 5,000 and 7,000 face-to-face resident meetings are held annually and the idea is to simplify this communication by relocating these meetings to an online platform.


City authorities point to the activity that takes place on Active Citizen as evidence that micro--communities are on the rise and citizens are interested in their local issues. Big data collected from Active Citizen polls illustrates that targeted voting has a much higher engagement rate than city-wide voting, it reports.


The statistics show that citizens are mostly engaged when the poll is targeted either by their social group, district or their occupancy. For instance, geo-targeted poll ‘how my district will be redeveloped’ engaged 76 per cent of respondents and profession-targeted poll ‘best ideas to improve my clinic’ attracted 65 per cent of respondents.


“We believe it’s essential to build a convenient environment to allow [residents] to influence the neighbourhood they are living in, said Andrey Belozerov, strategy and innovation advisor to CIO of Moscow.


“The pace of life in megapolises imposes its conditions and it is rather difficult to find a suitable time for everyone and schedule a meeting between neighbours offline. Digital Home is a user-friendly tool to allow neighbours to create ecosystem they want to live in.”


Since it was launched in 2014, the Active Citizen e-voting platform has gathered more than two million users and 93 million opinions. In total, there have been 3,510 polls held. Its motto is: “The city entrusts you to decide”. Recently, Active Citizen has launched blockchain to increase transparency.


Through blockchain, every vote in Active Citizen will become a smart contract which is publicly viewable and transparent. Once the vote is placed, it will be listed in a ledger consisting of all votes taken place across a peer-to-peer network. It will guarantee that the data will not be lost or altered by someone after the vote was cast so there is no chance for fraud or third-party interference.


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