Posts Tagged ‘participation’
Citizen participation, by now one of the main topics on the institutional agenda in many European countries, involves different fields of public action, mostly on a local level – social inclusion, urban renewal, development, the environment, health/social services, etc. It still remains, however, vague as a concept with a great variety of actors, procedures and powers involved in its practices. In this scenario, the present article asks two questions: what powers and what freedoms are involved in participation? How are they constructed and increased? The article then goes on to argue how voice is relevant for understanding the many stories of participation, referring to the classic concept of voice formulated by Albert Hirschman and the elaborations offered by Amartya Sen and Arjun Appadurai in their dialogue over capabilities and capacities.
The next phase of the digital revolution will be defined by products and services that facilitate shared understanding, allowing concerted participation around complex issues. In working to show the way, civic designers will need to call upon the powers of systems research, design research, social science, and open data. As the problems confronting 21st century citizens grow in complexity, citizens require not only the means to understand those problems, but also the means to exert political power over them. Activism on our part will require clear communication and shared understanding. Organizers before us may have leveraged Twitter and Facebook for civic effect, but civic designers will need to take this to the next level by creating products that enable citizens to collectively understand—and act upon—the layered, oftentimes opaque information surrounding complex issues. Creating next-gen civic applications will require designers to embody a systems-based approach to civic participation, marrying systems-based research, user-centered design, social science, and data. This article chronicles my own experience leveraging these tools to facilitate shared understand amongst my community.
Dans son discours du 8 octobre dernier, M. Bartolone, le président de l’Assemblée nationale, l’a annoncé : « Nous expérimenterons […] pour la première fois une consultation numérique des citoyens sur un projet de loi. Ce ne sera pas simplement un débat participatif mais un échange éclairé grâce à des données qui seront librement mises en ligne. Le débat aboutira à un rapport de synthèse qui sera versé aux documents mis à la disposition du rapporteur. Le projet de loi sur la fin de vie et celui sur le numérique seront les deux textes qui nous permettront d’expérimenter ce nouveau dispositif. » Nous n’en savons pas plus sur le détail de la mise en œuvre de cette proposition, si ce n’est que M. Bartolone a consulté plusieurs communicants pour le conseiller. Faire participer un très grand nombre de personnes à l’élaboration des lois pose des problèmes méthodologiques qui ne doivent pas être considérés à la légère et dont il n’est pas certain que le président de l’Assemblée nationale ait pris toute la mesure.
Resilience Management in Social-ecological Systems: A working hypothesis for a Participatory Approach
Approaches to natural resource management are often based on a presumed ability to predict probabilistic responses to management and external drivers such as climate. They also tend to assume that the manager is outside the system being managed. However, where the objectives include long-term sustainability, linked social-ecological systems (SESs) behave as complex adaptive systems, with the managers as integral components of the system. Moreover, uncertainties are large and it may be difficult to reduce them as fast as the system changes. Sustainability involves maintaining the functionality of a system when it is perturbed, or maintaining the elements needed to renew or reorganize if a large perturbation radically alters structure and function. The ability to do this is termed “resilience.” This paper presents an evolving approach to analyzing resilience in SESs, as a basis for managing resilience. We propose a framework with four steps, involving close involvement of SES stakeholders. It begins with a stakeholder-led development of a conceptual model of the system, including its historical profile (how it got to be what it is) and preliminary assessments of the drivers of the supply of key ecosystem goods and services. Step 2 deals with identifying the range of unpredictable and uncontrollable drivers, stakeholder visions for the future, and contrasting possible future policies, weaving these three factors into a limited set of future scenarios. Step 3 uses the outputs from steps 1 and 2 to explore the SES for resilience in an iterative way. It generally includes the development of simple models of the system’s dynamics for exploring attributes that affect resilience. Step 4 is a stakeholder evaluation of the process and outcomes in terms of policy and management implications. This approach to resilience analysis is illustrated using two stylized examples.
Democratizing the Classroom: Sequencing Discussions and Assignments to Promote Student Ownership of the Course
This article explores a radical pedagogical method for democratizing the classroom that generates rich, engaged, student-led discussions. The approach is grounded in the notion that democratic participation in the classroom is a worthy goal of radical pedagogy, that students must be adequately prepared in order to take on greater responsibility in the classroom, and that greater learning occurs when students take a more active role in the learning process. Careful sequencing of discussions and assignments is used to turn over responsibility for the course to students gradually, without sacrificing the depth and sophistication that instructors want to achieve in the classroom. The result is a classroom in which all students participate and in which thoughtful, informed discussion and debate is the primary mode of engagement. Early in my career, I found student presentations and student-led discussions to be dull and uninspired much of the time. However, by carefully structuring assignments so that students are adequately prepared, I have found it possible to turn over more and more of my classes to students while still covering the material at a sophisticated level and maintaining an engaged, interactive classroom.
The paper explores the emergence of territories that are constituted through spontaneous assembling of self-organized communities resulting in what we term urban social events. A concrete event is employed, namely Embros, an open occupation of an abandoned public building in the center of Athens, to highlight the dynamics that make urban social events transformative urban phenomena. By focusing upon the entangled mobilities of diverse agents, we explain how through differential, discontinual assembling and creative collaborations, such urban social interactions institute unbounded and immanent modes of organizing. The paper contributes to organizational territoriality studies proposing that urban social events are mobile entanglements that institute practices of creative transactions with formal or informal communities. By doing that, it places the Arts, creativity and community participation at the center of transformative organizing.
Our society is fundamentally changing. These days, almost nothing works without a computer chip. Processing power doubles every 18 months and will exceed the capabilities of human brains in about ten years from now. Some time ago, IBM’s Big Blue computer already beat the best chess player. Meanwhile, computers perform about 70 percent of all financial transactions, and IBM’s Watson advises customers better than human telephone hotlines. Will computers and robots soon replace skilled labor? In many European countries, unemployment is reaching historical heights. The forthcoming economic and social impact of future information and communication technologies (ICT) will be huge – probably more significant than that caused by the steam engine, or by nano- or biotechnology. The storage capacity for data is growing even faster than computational capacity. Within just a year we will soon generate more data than in the entire history of humankind. The “Internet of Things” will network trillions of sensors. Unimaginable amounts of data will be collected. Big Data is already being praised as the “oil of the 21st century”. What opportunities and risks does this create for our society, economy, and environment?