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Open Access 2022 | Open Access | Buch

Citizen Participation in the Information Society

Comparing Participatory Channels in Urban Development

herausgegeben von: Sissel Hovik, G. Anthony Giannoumis, Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud, José M. Ruano, Ian McShane, Sveinung Legard

Verlag: Springer International Publishing


Über dieses Buch

This open access book examines how digital technologies are used to promote citizen participation in democratic urban development. It assesses the emergence, use, applicability and functions of digital modes of citizen participation in multiple cities around the world, where political regimes invite ordinary citizens to partake in policy processes through information technologies. The book also explores these initiatives alongside issues of democracy, social justice and power. It is an essential reference for practitioners, policymakers and academics interested in the relationship between citizen participation, technology and urban governance.



Open Access

Chapter 1. Linkages Between Citizen Participation, Digital Technology, and Urban Development
This introductory chapter presents the bases for and approach to this volume’s investigation of e-participation in urban governance. We elaborate the linkages between the key concepts of the book—i.e., city and system characteristics, city’s adoption and implementation of digital tools, and citizen participation—and how e-participation can contribute to democratic governance. Furthermore, this chapter describes the research methodology and summarizes the arguments and findings presented in the succeeding chapters.
Sissel Hovik, G. Anthony Giannoumis

Open Access

Chapter 2. Participation and Influence in Urban Development: Does City E-Participation Strategy Matter?
Most cities have introduced digital participatory tools. They, however, introduce these tools in different ways and for different reasons. This chapter investigates the impact of the e-participating strategies of Madrid, Melbourne, and Oslo upon local activist participation and influence in urban development. Data gathered from a survey of local activists in the three cities, shows that they often combine different participatory channels: formal and informal and digital and analogue. The data also unveils differences in the ways these actors participate, a variation that cannot be understood in the light of city e-participation strategy. The authors argue that institutionalized practices and a culture of citizen participation are more important. The data furthermore indicates that activists that combine many different participatory channels believe they have more impact on urban development than those using few channels. The study therefore reveals that the introduction of many participatory channels tends to create super participants, which is further accentuated by the introduction of digital participation tools.
Sissel Hovik, Sveinung Legard, Ian McShane, Bhavna Middha, Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud, José M. Ruano

Open Access

Chapter 3. Displacement and Citizen Participation: A Comparison of the Enactment of E-Participation Platforms in Oslo and Madrid
The growing digitization of citizen participation has been accompanied by the concern that e-participation technologies will displace traditional forms of participation and representation. This chapter contributes to the discussions on ‘hybrid’ and ‘multichannel’ participation, by arguing that the relationship between e-participation and traditional, analogue forms of citizen participation is uneasy. The level of conflict and displacement caused by the introduction of e-participation technologies depends on how they are enacted. This chapter compares the introduction of e-participation platforms in Madrid and Oslo, and finds that the new technologies in Madrid deprived traditional channels of citizen participation or their role, but in Oslo were used to complement existing forms of analogue participation. This chapter uses technology enactment theory and an inductive case-study approach, to develop the hypothesis that e-participation technologies can both be enacted in ways that add something to an institutional environment, but also to achieve drastic change and that this is the outcome of agency.
Sveinung Legard

Open Access

Chapter 4. Inside the Black Box: Perspectives and Attitudes of Civil Servants on Citizen Participation
This chapter analyses the attitudes and perspectives of public managers on citizen participation processes in Madrid, Oslo, and Melbourne. A standardized questionnaire adapted to the three cities and in-depth interviews were used to conclude that the potential beneficial effects of citizen participation become more debatable at the moment of practical implementation. Despite the political-institutional differences between the three cities, all show the insufficiency of resources, weakness of cross-sectoral and multilevel coordination instruments, and a predominance of the interests of the stronger social groups over collective interests.
José M. Ruano, Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud

Open Access

Chapter 5. Citizen Participation and ICT for Urban Development in Oslo
Information and communications technologies provide a useful catalyst for promoting political participation in urban development. However, implicit biases often influence the design of those technologies, which can reinforce social disadvantages. Design processes can therefore create barriers that prevent or limit an individual’s or group’s ability to access or use technology and contribute to digital divides that segregate active users from users that experience barriers accessing or using technology. This chapter takes a universal design perspective, which is a design methodology and philosophy, that positions technology design as a means for ensuring participation in all aspects of society. This chapter explores the role of the design, development and implementation of participatory platforms as a mediators in citizen participation and urban development. The case study of a limited set of semi-structured interviews provides a basis for illustrating some experiences of citizens in Oslo who have used Si din mening, a participatory platform implemented by the city government. This chapter, therefore, sheds light on the ways in which local municipalities can ensure access and use of participatory platforms for as wide a population as possible. A heuristic analysis of one of the platforms provides further support and insights into potential patterns of use.
G. Anthony Giannoumis, Nidhi Joneja

Open Access

Chapter 6. Controlled and Responsive Interactivity: What Politicians and Bureaucrats in Oslo Say About Their Social Media Use, and What This Might Mean for Democracy
The development and global diffusion of social media lead to high expectations among scholars and practitioners that this could improve democracy, including in cities. Empirical research has, however, cast doubt on these expectations, and found that governments and policy makers rarely use social media to increase public participation. This chapter therefore investigates how local politicians, communication officers and other administrators in the urban development policy area in Oslo, describe their social media activities. One main finding of this study is that their use of social media is more interactive than is often described in political communication and e-government research. Another is that this interaction contains elements of not only controlled, but also responsive, interactivity. The main contribution of the chapter is the development of the concept of ‘responsive interactivity’. This is defined as being an activity in which politicians and bureaucrats acquire information about citizens opinions and grievances through social media, respond to and explain their stance and their actions to the users, and adapt policies, programmes, projects, or services to the citizens’ input. This contributes to a more nuanced image of governments’ use of social media that emphasizes the interactive aspects, without subscribing to the idea that this alone will democratize politics and government.
Sveinung Legard

Open Access

Chapter 7. E-gentrification: Digital Community Engagement, Urban Change and Digital Rights to the City
Urban development has, for many critical urban scholars, long been complicit with gentrification. The prolific scholarship on gentrification has also, in recent years, taken a digital turn, analysts exploring the association between gentrification and the increasing use of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) in urban governance. This chapter extends the book’s discussion on consultative digital platforms as sites of dialogue between citizens and governments, situating these initiatives within the wider investment made by governments and commercial providers in digital urban infrastructure. This investment, supported by imaginaries such as techno-solutionism, democratic participation and ideas of a rational citizen, is shaping the social, economic and spatial dynamics of cities, bringing critical attention to what scholars, following Lefebvre, have called the digital rights to the city. We analyse data from the Melbourne case study of the DEMUDIG project to explore what we term e-gentrification—the convergent trajectories of digital ICTs and of the gentrification of formerly working-class urban locations. We contend, through using a framework of assemblage theory, that the implementation and use of digital engagement platforms may be a constituent of gentrification processes.
Bhavna Middha, Ian McShane

Open Access

Chapter 8. The Impact of Digital Participation on Democratic Urban Governance
This concluding chapter examines the effect on democracy of different approaches to the digitalization of citizen participation. We investigate how well different e-participation models perform on the dimensions of inclusiveness, deliberation and popular control, the models examined being the online direct democracy model in Madrid, the digital crowdsourcing model in Melbourne and the e-bricolage model in Oslo. Digital technologies can, compared with analogue participation, enable cities to reach out to a larger number of people and strengthen the role of citizens in decision-making. The limitations of digital participation are revealed or confirmed by this study. Digital technologies can mobilize more citizens, but at the same time reinforce existing inequalities. High-quality deliberation is also difficult to achieve through online platforms. This study shows that the approach applied by cities to digitalization impacts the level of democracy achieved. This should be useful to practitioners designing systems of citizen participation in other cities.
Sveinung Legard, Sissel Hovik

Open Access

9. Correction to: Citizen Participation in the Information Society
Sissel Hovik, G. Anthony Giannoumis, Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud, José M. Ruano, Ian McShane, Sveinung Legard
Citizen Participation in the Information Society
herausgegeben von
Sissel Hovik
G. Anthony Giannoumis
Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud
José M. Ruano
Ian McShane
Sveinung Legard
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN

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