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Art. 01 – Vol. 28 – No. 1 – 2018

e-Participation Platform for Facilitating Citizens Involvement in Smart City Initiatives

Ionuț PETRE, Antonio-Marcel COHAL, Radu BONCEA
National Institute for Research & Development of Informatics – ICI Bucharest,
8-10 Mareşal Averescu Blvd., 011455 Bucharest, Romania
ionut.petre@ici.ro antonio.cohal@ici.ro radu.boncea@ici.ro

Abstract: The increase in the world population and the massive migration of the population to the urban area give rise to new problems difficult to manage by the government and local authorities. In order to maintain or enhance the quality of life while increasing the number of residents, ITC technologies can be used to implement Smart City projects for the benefit of communities. A large number of citizens feel a sense of commitment to their local area and have the desire to engage in activities to improve the quality of life. E-Participation refers to the involvement of citizens in e-government processes. This paper presents the design and development of a platform for citizen participation in Smart City initiatives, whose primary purpose is to facilitate interaction between the citizen and the authority to identify and establish Smart City projects of priority interest to the community.

Keywords: e-Participation, e-Government, Citizen, Citizen participation.

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CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Ionuț PETRE, Antonio-Marcel COHAL, Radu BONCEA, e-Participation Platform for Facilitating Citizens Involvement in Smart City Initiatives, Romanian Journal of Information Technology and Automatic Control, ISSN 1220-1758, vol. 28(2), pp. 5-14, 2018.

Introduction

More and more people are willing to take initiatives to make their local neighbourhood more liveable [7], in order to have a greater quality of life. As a result, the relationship between government and society is changing. The governance process must become and remain a partnership between citizens and their elected officials. This partnership is based on citizens trust in public administration, namely through the way the administration provides decisional transparency, honesty towards citizens and opportunities for active involvement of citizens in administrative decisions and projects.

Overall, the level of public participation and citizen engagement in the decision making processes tends to be low. The citizens are often poorly informed about the subjects being discussed and decided, even though the main goal is to serve the public interest [6].

Active citizens’ participation aims to narrow the social gap between the electorate and government institutions. The quality of democracy is dependable by continuous citizen participation in all governmental aspects. For a viable involvement of citizens in the administration’s projects, it is necessary to have permanent information and an active consultation procedure. A proper citizens’ informing requires that the public administration provides data on its plans according to the standards of open government, and the consultation process identifies and analyses the needs and demands of citizens in the context of the development and development of new initiatives.

A main driver for e-government is the belief that the widespread adoption of digital technologies is vital to national competitiveness in the future. If e-government is to succeed in transforming the citizens’ experience of both public services and of decision-making it needs to pay greater attention to demand rather than supply-side issues [4].

It is forecast that by the end of 2050, about 70% of the population will live in cities [2]. This leads to the conclusion that ITC solutions are required to face this trend. A Smart City must include key components that enable the centralization of the data, components that can take many shapes and forms from a simple website to more complex and context aware mobile applications and specialized hardware. On the other hand, the accessibility of the data should be guaranteed in such way that the system should be freely accessed by the citizens and should allow them to propose modifications and corrections. By enabling the contribution of the citizens, it can ensure that more objectives are achieved regarding an information and also making it easier to obtain more data from citizens [5].

E-government is in fact a new paradigm for organizing society where social laws and norms remain unchanged, but the way they apply and the values they are assigned. The importance of the concept of e-government is given by a number of fundamental considerations regarding actions that encourage the widespread adoption of digital technology as a key element for a competitive economy, allowing the government to redefine its role and focus attention to citizens and reduce the costs of public services, without negatively affecting their quality. Ensuring that government works for the public good requires informed, organized, active and peaceful citizen participation. Citizens must therefore understand ideas about citizenship, politics and government.


They need knowledge to make decisions about policy choices and the proper use of authority. Digital society is the advanced society or community in the field of adopting and integrating digital technology in people’s daily lives (home, work, recreation). In this context, e-Government can be defined as the development, distribution and enforcement of the policy, laws and regulations necessary for the functioning of the digital society, the economy as well as the e-Government. A significant feature of e-government is to attract proactive citizenship through the e-Participation component, in managing and developing public services and delivering them to the digital environment.

E- Government is a powerful tool to provide specific information to the citizen’s need at a certain point in his life through a multitude of digital channels: web portals, realtime help centres, car-centres, or self-service online kiosks “. Online web portals are the most important and offer a multifunctional IT system that provides a secure point of access to a wealth of information and services through a web interface.

E-government is not just about government website and e-mail. Nor just service delivery over the Internet. Nor even about digital access to government information or electronic payments. It is all about how citizens relate to each other. Indeed, it is a neo-culture, allowing citizens to communicate with governments, participate in policy making, and communicate with one another [3].

Conclusions

The e-participation system was designed to increase citizens’ participation in smart city projects. By creating the e-participation platform, the premises of identifying new possible projects to support the citizens are created. The main motivation is to facilitate the interaction of citizens with both the state institutions and the decisionmakers in the financing and implementation of smart-city projects. The main benefits to be gained consist in the registration system for project-type initiatives, free access for all citizens to these initiatives, and even voting pro or against these initiatives. The platform contributes to increasing the visibility of smart-city researchers’ project initiatives by providing access to these initiatives to all citizens and including decision makers in implementing these projects.

Conclusions:

The e-participation system was designed to increase citizens’ participation in smart city projects. By creating the e-participation platform, the premises of identifying new possible projects to support the citizens are created. The main motivation is to facilitate the interaction of citizens with both the state institutions and the decisionmakers in the financing and implementation of smart-city projects. The main benefits to be gained consist in the registration system for project-type initiatives, free access for all citizens to these initiatives, and even voting pro or against these initiatives. The platform contributes to increasing the visibility of smart-city researchers’ project initiatives by providing access to these initiatives to all citizens and including decision makers in implementing these projects.

REFERENCES

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  8. <https://ec.europa.eu/info/eu-regional-and-urban-development/topics/citiesand-urban-development/city-initiatives/smart-cities_en>

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