IPSA Seminar 2022

Smart Cities and Open Government

Local responses to participation, public information and democracy

September, 23th. 2022

Faculty of Political Science and Sociology.

Complutense University of Madrid (UCM- Spain)

Important notice: We inform the participants that the language of this official side event is English.
There is no translation service available.

12 Accepted paper proposals to be held in 2 panel (hybrid) sessions

Panel 01. Smart Cities

Date; September, 23th.

Idioma: Inglés . Sesión sin servicio de traducción en tiempo real.
(English language panel. No tralslation service available)

Chair: Prof. Norbert Kersting

University Muenster. (Germany)

IPSA22-06. Smarter deliberation at the local level? A study of social learning within municipal councils in Brussels

Author(s): Mohamad Amin Alomar / Mohammad Al Saleh

Organization: UCLouvain. (Belgium)

Email: (mohamad-amin.alomar@uclouvain.be)

Public deliberation, conceptualized as a debate and discussion aimed at producing reasonable, well-informed opinions in which participants are willing to revise preferences in light of discussion, new information, and claims made by fellow participants (Chambers, 2003), has been a bedrock of representative and participative democracy. Learning, defined as an individual and collective process involving the enduring acquisition or modification of cognitive constructs such as beliefs and preferences (Moyson, 2017), is central in such a conceptualization (Gregorcic & Krašovec, 2016). The last years, participatory democracy has been studied and promoted in order to improve the efficacy and legitimacy of policy decisions made through representative democracy, especially at the local level. Despite these developments, representative councils or parliaments remain fundamental to transform the outputs of participatory democracy into concrete decisions. Yet, research on public deliberations in representative democracy is rarer. The objective of this paper is twofold. First, we look at the conditions of social learning within municipal councils. We do so by presenting the results of a thematic analysis (Paillé & Mucchielli, 2016) of 17 semi-structured interviews with council presidents and general directors of municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium. These results are qualified based on four focus groups (Morgan, 1998) with municipal councilors from both the majority and opposition sides in two municipalities in Brussels-Capital Region. Three categories of conditions are detailed: micro conditions, such as the experience of councilors or their background; meso conditions, such as the communication patterns or informal discussions; and macro conditions, such as the organization of the parties, the deliberative procedures or the publicity of the debates. Second, we present the features of a new software (called e-D&LIB) supposed to foster learning in deliberations based on these results. A set of questions based on the Multiple Streams Framework (Zahariadis, 2019) are asked to the participants about policy problems and solutions. Inspired by the Delphi method (Landetta, 2006), a first round of open questions is combined with a second round of closed questions in order to elicit learning among councilors. In doing so, we contribute to a better understanding of public deliberation and we suggest a new solution to improve it, both in representative and participatory democracy.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-07. Experimenting the use of Smart City Concepts and Digital Solutions in Municipalities of the Global South: A International Development Cooperation Perspective in South Africa

Author(s): Lenhard Hamza

Organization: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (Germany)

Email: (lenhardhamza@gmail.com)

Since democratization, South Africa has been struggling to create stable local governments. Municipalities are constantly failing to deliver essential services to their citizens. There is a lack of transparency and accountability, widespread corruption, and limited public participation in the local decision-making process. Based on this situation, the Governance Support Programme (GSP) was initiated as a partnership programme agreed to between the governments of South Africa and Germany. The German international development cooperation agency GIZ was responsible for its implementation. The program's main aim was to tackle the deficiencies of the system in selected poorly managed municipalities in the provinces of the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-08. Smart and Green at the Local Level: Is It All for Naught?

Author(s): Jill L. Tao

Organization: Incheon National University (South Korea)

Email: (j.tao.808@gmail.com)

In South Korea during the Lee Myung-Bak administration (2008-2013), there was a concerted effort to push smart city technologies at the local level of government. One of the rationales used to justify smart city development and investment was the “green” initiative: smart cities would create more efficient uses of energy and transportation, allowing outdated “dirty” technologies to be replaced by newer, “greener” versions. All of this was seen as consistent with the national government’s push to reduce global greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve South Korea’s image as a better environmental neighbor. However, in the decade since such policies were put into place, and infrastructure development and investment were pursued with these goals in mind, South Korea has not realized its lower emissions goals. In fact, the opposite has been the case. It holds its rank as the 13th highest emitter of GHGs worldwide, and despite promises by the Moon Administration to increase alternative energy sources for the power hungry economy, no substantial increases were made. This leaves local governments in an awkward position. They have internal climate change targets they are expected to meet, but little control over the mechanisms that make success possible. Under such conditions, what can they do? In this paper, I investigate the perspectives of local government officials throughout South Korea on what steps they are taking to achieve climate change targets. I find that local officials have largely ceded the fight for GHG emissions reduction to the national government, and have focused instead on mitigation measures. I outline what those measures are, and also highlight particular local governments who have not yet conceded. I conclude with recommendations for local governments that would like to do more but consider the odds to be stacked against them.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-09. Hybrid Democratic Innovations: The case of Decidim.Barcelona

Author(s): Filipe Mello Rose

Organization: HafenCity University Hamburg (Germany)

Email: (f.mellorose@gmail.com)

This article explores the concept and practice of hybrid democratic innovations. We claim that hybrid democratic innovations can do more than combining online and offline citizen participation. We argue that they may combine different means of citizen participation; notably deliberation, voting, representation, and e-participation; to enable citizens to take part in different stages of the policy cycle. While the integration of different means of participation in one same institutional design expands the role of citizens within the policy process, this may facilitate democratic innovations to achieve their goals. We analyze the digital participatory platform Decidim.Barcelona as a paradigmatic case to inquire into how hybrid democratic innovations combine different means of participation to achieve greater political inclusion and social equality. Decidim.Barcelona is an open-source digital participation platform that was created by Barcelona’s municipal government following the election of “Barcelona en Comú”, a social movement that had institutionalized into a political party. The newly-elected municipal government created this digital participation platform to restructure and improve the city’s participation processes with hybrid democratic innovations. Our analysis is based on 12 semi-structured interviews with 15 persons and extensive document analysis. We find that Decidim.Barcelona enables and fosters participatory processes across four means of citizen participation and all stages of the policy cycle, in addition to combining online and offline participatory spaces. Decidim.Barcelona’s hybridity stems from modular platform technology which is based on a community-managed open-source software creation. The institutionalization of Decidim.Barcelona’s modularity allows government administrators and civil society actors to integrate different means of citizen participation across different stages of the policy cycle.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-10. Access to Technology and Democracy in Smart Cities: The Case of São Paulo

Author(s): Rafael Amorim and José Carlos Vaz

Organization: University of São Paulo (Brazil)

Email: (vaz@usp.br)

Our research aims to question whether the initiatives that are called smart city projects are capable of effectively promoting a more democratic city, considering that one of the pillars for the implementation of smart cities and open government initiatives is the access of its citizens to technology, making it possible to expand the use of participatory spaces and democratize access to the city. Expansion of democratic practices has been seen as a key requirement for realization of the right to the city. It embraces political participation, civic engagement (UN-HABITAT, 2016, p.5) and democratic management of the city (WSF, 2006, p.3). The city of São Paulo has sought to characterize itself as a smart city, leading rankings of the “smartest and most connected cities” in Brazil (SÃO PAULO, 2021). In 2013, the municipal government started an Open Government Policy. São Paulo municipal government has presented digital inclusion as a public policy for an intelligent and humane city. It has objectives such as mitigating inequalities of access and social exclusion, many of them linked to city areas where the equipment is located. This narrative finds potential convergence with main aspects of the right to the city, which has among its claims inclusion, non-discrimination, access to public spaces, citizenship and political participation. However, some contradictions can be observed when analyzing the dimension of democracy and participation. In this dimension, we can understand that access to technology initiatives can contribute to greater political participation of citizens, either by expanding access in general terms, or by specific actions that take advantage of the initiatives and infrastructure of access to technology policies to strengthen spaces for social participation. The experience of São Paulo is not characterized by initiatives in this direction. Additionally, there are no elements of social participation in the management of the access to technology policy. In addition, initially existing participatory elements lost their strength, as in the case with management councils of community public internet centers, where citizens used to have deliberative power. Based on the content analysis, it was possible to characterize the digital inclusion policy of the city of Sao Paulo in terms of its contribution to the dimension of democracy. Some key point emerged: - A fragmented view of the use of technology was observed. Smart city and open government policies in São Paulo do not connect with access to technology policies. In this sense, they presuppose a degree of access that already exists. In a city with great social inequalities, this may mean that smart city and open government policies outcomes are also unequally distributed and, at least from the point of view of promoting democracy, do not contribute to reducing inequalities. - There is a low perception of the contribution of technology access to strengthening other policies. This is an important issue from the point of view of the potential for strengthening the access to technology policy itself, as it could benefit from shared resources and objectives with other policies. It reflects a view that technology access is focused on solving very specific problems, functioning as a (limited) response to inequalities in access, but not being linked to broader objectives of reducing political inequalities in the city. At the same time, it shows fragmentation of the governance of public policies in the city, due to the disarticulation of policies that, in theory, could be treated with complementarity. - There is no concern about the democratic management of the digital inclusion policy itself; in fact, there were setbacks at this point in relation to the initial formats of the access to technology policy. - São Paulo's municipal policy on access to technology focuses on a vision of citizens as technology consumers, not as politically active citizens. Thus, the initiatives promote individual access for private purposes, but do not encourage political participation.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-11. Smart cities, Online-Participation and the Covid19 pandemic

Author(s): Norbert Kersting

Organization: University Muenster (Germany)

Email: (kersting@staff.uni-marburg.de)

Smart cities can be regarded as the latest administrative reform and digital innovation in most metropolitan cities globally. In smart cities as well as in former urban New Public Management modernization and Post Weberian reforms, the important role of the citizens in planning as well as monitoring has been highlighted. Online and offline participation can reinvigorate town planning and policymaking as well as policy monitoring processes at the local level. which can be regarded as a laboratory for democratic innovation. During the Covid 19 pandemic, digitalization, online participation and video conferences became very important. The paper analyzes analyzing the attitudes of citizen and councilors on online participation in Germany. Is there a democratic lockdown in the pandemic? Are smart cities a solution to solve the problems? How are video conferences evaluated? Is the future hybrid and democratization should focus on hybrid blended participation?

Status: Accepted

Panel 02. Open government

Date; September, 23th.
Idioma: Inglés . Sesión sin servicio de traducción en tiempo real.
(English language panel. No tralslation service available)

Chair: Prof. José A. Hernández-Bonivento

Organization: Universidad Austral de Chile. (Chile)

IPSA22-01. Territorial Patterns in Digital Development and Open Government: Evidence from Chilean Local Governments

Author(s): Bastián González-Bustamante

Organization: University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

Email: (bastian.gonzalezbustamante@politics.ox.ac.uk)

This article analyses digital development and open government in 345 Chilean local governments in 2019 and 2021. Digital development evaluation is carried out with an e-government index (EGi) which allows us to measure the provision of local digital services to citizens. We also evaluate open government using a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) indicators. Both dimensions are analysed considering several variables related to the local governments’ administrative capacity, aggregate sociodemographic characteristics, and spatial distribution patterns. Our empirical strategy relies on geospatial analysis and is divided into three stages. Firstly, our leading indicators are described and georeferenced. Secondly, we estimate spatial autocorrelation. Finally, we fit different spatial econometric models to evaluate the impact of aggregate sociodemographic characteristics and administrative capacity indicators on local digital development and open government.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-02. Citizens’ participation in public government. On a consistent underlying democracy conceptualization and operationalization

Author(s): Ricardo Alvira Baeza

Organization: Universidad de Murcia (Spain)

Email: (ricardo.alvira@um.es)

In the last five years, the Madrid City Council has promoted several citizens’ participation actions through its citizen participation portal: Decide Madrid. It is a hybrid system of participation, in which some of the initiatives are developed exclusively on the digital portal, while others combine digital and more traditional participation procedures. Despite the evident interest of the initiative, a review of the process and results of several actions shows a highly limited underlying democracy conceptualization, close to minimalist approaches, which contrasts with the apparent direct democratic nature of these actions. Moreover, given some citizens participation difficulty in some initiatives, these approaches could often lead to anti-democratic results from different perspectives of democracy. Prevent this, forces us to draft a broader conceptualization of democracy, and its operationalization in this type of process, and to outline a methodology for initiatives that would incorporate these conceptualizations of democracy. This paper briefly explains three possible conceptualizations of democracy. It shows that only the minimalist conceptualization is fulfilled in several Madrid Decide initiatives. Finally, it proposes how the methodology could be modified to maximize compliance with these three conceptualizations of democracy.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-03. E-participation in tackling the pandemic: a mapping of the digital initiatives of brazilian city halls

Author(s): Luiza Brunetti Silva Jardim

Organization: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Email: (luizabsjardim@gmail.com)

The new coronavirus pandemic placed Brazil in a state of calamity, and the inaction of the federal government caused subnational governments to stand out in the actions in the face of the health, social, economic, and cultural ramifications of the disease. In this context, social participation initiatives for tackling the pandemic emerged throughout the country through digital mechanisms. This work presents a brief review of the literature on democracy and digital participation, as well as a mapping of the digital participation initiatives of the municipal executive branches that took place during 2020, carried out through a keyword search. We surveyed 104 initiatives from 72 municipalities, most from municipal councils. The research findings show a predominance of initiatives related to remote education and the resumption of in-person education, and more considerable expressivity in the Southeast Region and large municipalities. Following that mapping, we conducted semi-structured interviews with public servants – who were responsible for implementing those e-participation processes – in order to understand their motivation, and how e-participation was used in such a catastrophic moment. Results suggests that participation was used mainly to understand the citizen’s needs, and that governments were mainly worried about the legitimacy of their decisions.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-04. How ‘Local’ are Action Plans submitted by OGP Local Participants?

Author(s): Mary Francoli

Organization: Carleton University (Canada)

Email: (mary.francoli@carleton.ca)

This paper asks, “Are the action plan commitments of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local Program participants designed to address locally identified problems in a way that is responsive to their unique technological, organizational and contextual environments?” To answer this question, document analysis is used to critically examine the OGP Local Action Plans to assess whether unique contextual characteristics influence the application of broad open government tenets within individual commitments. In addition, a Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) lens is employed to determine whether action plans address locally relevant problems and construct viable and measurable solutions in collaboration with local stakeholders. This analysis allows for the identification of commonalities in the conceptualization and application of open government as well as providing a window into how local context (geographic, social, political, economic, technological) and institutional environment influences the nature, scope and characteristics of implementation.

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-05. Local participatory budgets: an extension of political participation?

Author(s): Martine Legris

Organization: Université de Lille. (France)

Email: (mart.revel@gmail.com)

The principle of the participatory budget (P. B.) is to put part of the investment expenditure of their municipality (5% on average) to the vote of the inhabitants. Before it appeared in France, it was in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil - in 1989 - that the P.B. was developed. The method of decision making (meetings and physical voting, online platform), the amount and the nature of the projects funded can vary widely from one project to another. Whether it is a question of optimising the development of urban space, encouraging soft and alternative modes of transport, contributing to the development of cultural and sports areas or bringing nature into the city: a P.B. is about concrete things. It is about voting for capital expenditure and projects that will directly contribute to improving the quality of life of city dwellers. On the other hand, it is also a device that would promote trust between citizens and elected officials insofar as the community reserves a budgetary envelope for the implementation of projects proposed and chosen by the citizens themselves. Knowing that a public budget is characterised by the fact that it is both an act of forecasting and authorising expenditure and revenue adopted by an assembly elected by the citizen-taxpayers, the P.B. aims to make the citizen-taxpayer aware of, and even to make him or her responsible for, the delicate choices that local elected representatives have to make in the choice and financing of projects in the light of the multiple aims of the general interest and also of the financial constraints imposed by the State and/or the European Union. This co-responsibility, which contributes to both educating and informing the citizen-taxpayer about local management under constraints in terms of public purpose and financing, tends to establish and reinforce the legitimacy of the elected municipal authority. In this paper, our approach will be to follow and understand how ideas are transformed into projects by focusing on the participation mechanisms put in place (physical vote and/or electronic vote) for the benefit of the inhabitants and/or the collectives representing them (neighbourhood councils, associations, companies), mechanisms whose choice is not neutral with regard to the results and the evaluation of these experiences of PB. The analysis of the interactions between institutions, public agents and citizens will make it possible to identify the issues at stake and the interplay of the actors involved. .

Status: Accepted

IPSA22-12. Who is asking for local public information? Predictors of Freedom of Information Requests to municipalities in Chile

Author(s): José A. Hernández-Bonivento

Organization: Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile)

Email: (jose.hernandez01@uach.cl)

In the last decade, many countries adopted Freedom of Information (FOI) Laws as a way to promote state transparency, engage citizens in public affairs, and build public accountability. Although much research is based on the FOI effects on transparency, there are very few works about the implications on citizens' engagement and participation through FOI requests. Using a national unified database of FOI requests on municipalities in Chile, this article focuses on the variables that can predict their use by local citizens. After crossing supply and demand-based variables as possible predictors, our research finds that municipalities with an active civil society and, counterintuitively, low fiscal autonomy, get a bigger number of FOI requests. These findings are consistent with the importance of local services to poorer municipalities in Chile, which creates strong incentives for mobilization and civic engagement with local authorities.

Status: Accepted