Welcome, civic tech and democracy enthusiasts! It’s Friday and you know what that means — we’re back with the weekly reading list that’ll brighten up your day.
This week, we’ll talk about citizen engagement, AI, smart cities, local governments, and also somehow about saving the bees. So let’s get buzzy!
1. “What would it take to help cities innovate responsibly with AI?” by E. Copeland for Nesta
AI, like so many technological innovations, has clear benefits. To name only a few: it enables scaling, removes human bias, and spots patterns that are hard to process for the human brain. But – again, as with many technological innovations – there’s another side of the coin, and it’s up to cities to strike the right balance between AI’s benefits and potential pitfalls.
What cities need to achieve, according to this article, is actionable guidance that changes behaviour. The article then dives deeper into an approach that offers exactly that, in 5 helpful tips.
A must-read for governments, AI lovers or sceptics, and anyone who’s interested in building better cities.
2. “5 Ways to Combat Noise with Citizen Engagement” by L. Hartman for Governing
Citizen engagement lies at the core of any democratic community. Over the years, technological solutions (like the CitizenLab platform, for example) have streamlined the engagement process significantly. This article sheds a light on all the ways that new tech takes control of the public conversation. Educating residents, gaining support, or improving communication – this interesting read offers some helpful insights for local administrations toying with the idea of a local participation project.
A must-read for city officials looking to get started with citizen participation, or interested citizens who’d love to weigh in on local governance.
3. “The Realities Of Smart City Development” by J. Song for Forbes
Thanks to popular culture, the term “smart cities” has a very futuristic feel to it. But the reality is that smart cities look pretty similar to the current decors of our daily lives. In a smart city, the internet of things (IoT) is in charge, and it changes the way citizens co-exist in their cities and neighbourhoods.
The rise of smart cities comes with some very real challenges, and Song is here to bust a few myths. In this article, she applies a very realistic filter to the smart city discourse.
A must-read when you’re a city looking to become smarter, or an urbanite who just can’t wait to start exploring the developing surroundings.
4. “Four ways governments are boosting future skills” by N.
Rohaidi for GovInsider
Offices as we know
This article discusses how 4 countries – India, Australia, Singapore and Denmark – are preparing for the big shift. A lot of it has to do with cultivating new (tech) skills and creating an attitude of lifelong learning.
Curious to see how you as a government official can adapt to these major social and technological changes? Take this helpful test! (courtesy of Apolitical.co)!
5. “European Citizens’ Initiative launched, calling on EU to ‘Save the Bees’” by The Sofia Globe
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” This quote, often attributed to Einstein, might’ve inspired a group of European citizens to take action. Because this week, the European Commission agreed to register a European Citizens’ Initiative entitled “Save the bees! Protection of biodiversity and improvement of habitats for insects in Europe”.
This citizen initiative aims to improve biodiversity by cutting the use of pesticides and taking other active measures to halt the decline of bee populations. A must-read for engaged citizens, bee-buffs and, according to Einstein, anyone who’d like to live until at least 2024.
That’s it for our weekly catch-up! Ready for more? Check out our previous selections on the blog, download our brand-new comprehensive e-guide on participatory budgeting, or contact our experts to get started with digital participation in your city!