eParticipation in Germany - Study

My friends at Zebralog just published the second study on the state of online participation in Germany:

Today, the Initiative for eParticipation has released its secondstudy on citizen participation over the internet. As last year, Berlinshowed the best eParticipation record, Freiburg and Munich made a bigstep forward.

The study analyzed the websites of all 83German cities above a population of 100.000. A ranking system wasapplied that rewarded points if cities offered comprehensible andcomprehensive information on current political issues, if politicaldecision makers could be addressed through the web, and if citizenswere invited for deliberation through discussion forums or chats. Theusablity of such participatory projects as well as their integrationinto political decision making processes was of primary importance.Coder's agreement on their assessment of the cities' websites rangedbetween 88 and 100%.

The results show that German cities haveimproved their eParticipation record compared to last year's study.However, the large majority of German cities still has not attempted toconsult citizens over the internet. Berlin ranked highest because(among other reasons) the city provides a citizen discussion space onits main portal, carried out a couple of online dialogues on townplanning issues and had a participatory budgeting project in one of itsboroughs (Lichtenberg) where citizens could take part online as well.

The study is available for donwload in German at www.Initiative-eParticipation.de

eDemocracy Workshop

Just came back from the Building eDemocracy Workshop at OSU in Columbus Ohio, where I was invited to present on visualization tools for public participation. My presentation can be downloaded here.
We experienced a new tool for live online collaboration, that supports America Speaks participation model.
Also Alexandra Samuels wrote up the outcomes of one of the workshops, on how to structure online deliberation in a way that promotes civil dialogue.
Here is the synopsis:
1. Keep your goal visible.
2. Keep your rules visible.
3. Use moderation effectively

CPC Conference

Wow, back from a great, but exhausting conference, the CPC Community Planning Collaborative on tools for planning, that PlaceMatters/Orton organizes every year. Not only did we organize a conference, we tied with a planning challenge in Orlando, the Innovation Way corridor (about the size of Portland).

Obviously draining our energy, but I came back with a lot of great impressions and experiences.

I held a presentation on open source tools for eparticipation, my first one in English, and added an extra kick by being late. But it went well and a great discussion followed.

And we tested a new groupware system, that expands the traditional form of a mapping exerciseby capturing all submissions georeferenced via wirelessly networkedcomputers. This enabled us to sort and group issues for the report out,as well as displaying the results online, and potentially contributingonline. What strikes me is the possibility of actually doing this type of exercise simultaniously, in a face-to-face meeting and online. Or why not continue the discourse for a couple of days, after kicking it off in a meeting.

Definitely lots of food for thought.

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