It’s Friday, it’s summer, and there’s a fresh Reads of the Week-list: your weekend surely got off on the right foot.

But let’s not beat around the bush too much, because it’s almost as hot as the civic tech news we’ve selected for you. As always, you can find previous selections on our blog. If you’re all up to date, let’s dive right in! (A pool? A lake? Nope. The deep, deep well of civic tech).

1. “How social innovation can support citizen participation” by Open Access Government

Social innovation can be a great way to realise global goals and to provide answers to social needs. This article focuses on the value of social innovation and the prerequisites for it to live up to its potential. For example, co-producing policies with parties that offer different kinds of expertise, reviving ‘older’ ideas instead of reinventing the wheel, and assessing what ‘social ends’ really means are all factors in increasing the value of social innovation. And as this article states, “for social innovation to be part of the mix in realising global goals, citizens also need to participate meaningfully in assessing its outcomes.” A must-read if you’re passionate about participation, or if ‘social innovator’ is your middle name.

2. “Citizens’ assemblies: how to bring the wisdom of the public to bear on the climate emergency” by The Conversation

How do we tackle the issue of climate change? With climate issues rising to the top of the priority list, governments are looking for ways to make meaningful change in this area. In the UK, 6 parliamentary committees will be commissioning a citizens’ assembly, in which citizens will discuss how to navigate the transition to a cleaner, emission-free life. As the article states, “citizen assemblies could well help governments kick-start the tough but urgently needed steps to safeguard a healthy and stable world.” A must-read for those looking for ways to make a positive impact on the climate, and, really, all other Earthlings.

3. “Kids suing governments about climate: It’s a global trend” by National Geographic

Let’s stay on topic for a little longer, because across the globe, young people are suing their governments, claiming they have the right to a clean environment. From the Netherlands to Colombia and Pakistan, kids are taking matters in their own hands. The article quotes Carroll Muffett, president and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law, saying “What you see in this rising tide, led by children—who have the greatest stake—of people saying to their governments: ‘You have failed. We have rights and you need to abide by and protect those rights.” A must-read for everyone who still had doubts about the impact of citizens’ voices.

4. “Is There A Role For Philanthropy In Renewing Democracy?” by Forbes

What’s the link between organized philanthropy and the world of democracy? And how can both concepts come together to strengthen communities and rebuild trust? This article explores how organized philanthropy could play a role in creating inclusive public spaces, building democratic skills and civic leadership, among other things. “One of the challenges facing philanthropy is to decide what kind of democracy it wants to support and how best to go about doing it,” this article states. A must-read for philanthropists and democracy-devotees looking to join their forces.

5. “Why Cities Are Writing Their Own Standards For Scooters and AVs” by Forbes

You’ve probably already seen it with your own eyes. Across Europe, electric scooters are popping up, seemingly out of nowhere. And besides dominating the cityscape, they are also altering the nature of (public) transportation in our cities today. What’s the impact of such a “blitzscale“? How does it affect the way that citizens experience mobility in the places where they live and work? A must-read for everyone interested in modern mobility solutions and the implications they may have for cities as we know them.

And that’s it for our list of this week! If you’re looking for more, download our comprehensive e-guides on participatory budgeting or inclusion in e-democracy, or contact our experts to get started with digital participation in your city!

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