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Toolkit launched for engaging citizens in the co-creation of smart cities

A new and better future can only be delivered when citizens take personal and collective responsibility for how "they use their city"

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Cities cannot work in isolation and must enlist the help of their citizens
Cities cannot work in isolation and must enlist the help of their citizens

The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) has announced the development of the Societal Engagement Toolkit (SET) to help local authorities “bridge the gap” between them and their citizens and enable them to co-create the urban spaces of the future together.

 

The toolkit being developed, under the auspices of the EIP’s CitizenCity initiative, was inspired by the European Manifesto on Citizen Engagement, which intends to facilitate the implementation of its principles to bridge the needs of cities with the supply of available tool resources.

 

Co-creation challenge

 

According to EIP, most local authorities recognise that involving city dwellers is crucial not only for democratic governance but also to ensure the success of the projects they are trying to implement. ‘Co-creation’ in which citizens are involved in designing the city in which they live in the future represents the ideal but getting started can be challenging.

“No one gets left behind in the process as attention is given to ensuring the voices of the most vulnerable citizens, the less literate, the elderly and young people all get heard"

“We are developing a toolkit of best practices and success stories by talking to the local authorities early in the process. We take note of their specific requirements and desires and create solutions that really work for them”, said John Zib, a social entrepreneur, urban media specialist and lead of the CitizenCity initiative developing SET.

 

“No one gets left behind in the process as attention is given to ensuring the voices of the most vulnerable citizens, the less literate, the elderly and young people all get heard. We ensure that our solutions really do work for everyone.”

 

Logical framework

 

The SET digital platform seeks to provide a logical framework for societal insight, engagement and participation to help shape a specific topic and provide a common lexicon for discussion.

 

It enables a city to assess where it stands in terms of readiness and to re-consider how it could or should engage its communities. With SET, cities can explore, plan and build more specific initiatives or projects together with their citizens to speed up transformation and resolve the chronic challenges, its developers claim.

 

SET is currently in the test phase and is focused on the needs of small- and medium-sized cities.

 

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