Barcelona City Council and the Open University of Catalonia have signed an agreement to promote the research, innovation, training and dissemination of citizen participation via digital platforms such as Decidim.
The agreement, entitled Citizen Participation, Technopolitical Development and Online Communication through the Decidim, was signed by the Deputy Mayor, Jaume Asens, and the President of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Josep A. Planell. It is promoted by the Directorate for Research, Development and Innonvation of the Citizens’ Rights, Participation and Transparency Department, and it will be developed from the Communication Networks and Social Change (CNSC) research group of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), led by Manuel Castells.
It has a financial value of 300,000 euros. Each party will assume 50% of the total amount of the project, which as previously stated will have a duration of three years (2017, 2018 and 2019).
The aim of the agreement is to “design, develop, implant and monitor the study, research, teaching, dissemination, extension and training of community participation using network information technologies via the Decidim project“. Specifically, the agreement encompasses activities such as the promotion of citizen participation policies, collaboration in research projects and consultancy in the design and analysis of the Decidim digital platform and its activities. In order to achieve these objectives, training courses, seminars, workshops and conferences will be done aimed at disseminating Decidim and promote knowledge about the use of ICT in citizen participation, as well as network democracy and institutional innovation. The agreement also aimes to coordinate the development and extension of the Decidim digital platform to other public institutions and social organizations interested in using it.
In addition, this agreement will allow the exchange of technical or research personnel and experts between the two institutions in order to boost staff training in technology, as well as study and research within the City Council.
These activities will make it possible to ensure that the governing principles of Decidim are maintained, such as transparency, traceability, integrity, open-source status and the democratic nature of participation processes within the sphere of community participation and ICTs.
Thus the CNSC research group is committed to produce research and publications of an academic, educational and informative nature in relation to community participation, network democracy and institutional innovation, in order to develop the concept of a democratic city as an space for participation and development of public policies and participatory democracy.
The signing of this agreement once again proves the high commitment of the CNSC group and the City Council of Barcelona to collaborate in research, development, innovation and training, in the field of citizen participation and communication network technologies.