Another week has flown by, and another batch of hot civic tech and democracy content has hit the worldwide web.

And like every week, we’ve made a selection of our favourite reads. Settle down with some afternoon coffee and let’s dive right in! Or if you missed our previous selections, you can find them here.

1. Exclusive: How Poland is building GovTech’s new frontier by GovInsider

“Our goal is to have them all compete on equal footing.” GovTech Poland has set up so-called ‘design contests’ in which citizens, companies, startups or research teams can pitch solutions for problem statements from various ministries. Participants have to think about the scalability of their solutions and are challenged to build a prototype. To level the playing field between all parties, all solutions are judged anonymously.

Last year’s participants were almost all Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and this experiment shows how procurement can be a driver for innovation and a boost for the local startup ecosystem. A must-read for governments looking for new ways to innovate.

2. “How Stockholm is leading the way for smart cities” by Raconteur

“The cities of the future are going to be places that unlock people’s inspiration and innovation; they’re going to rely on open and secure data, and they will make life easier for people, while reducing carbon emissions through better application of technology. The future will be smarter and Stockholm is leading the way.”

The future of our cities looks bright, according to the Swedes. This article explores how the Swedish capital aims to become the smartest city in the world by 2040. Being a ‘smart city’ goes beyond technology and data and is, above all, a mindset, says Anna König Jerlmyr, president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Stockholm. A must-read for cities with ambitious plans for the future!

3. “European Citizen Initiative to ban cages for farm animals has collected 1 million signatures” by Brussels Times

Whoever still had doubts about the impact that citizens can make on this world can now sleep soundly. A European Citizens’ Initiative to End the Cage Age has now called for a ban on cages for hens, sows, rabbits, ducks, geese and other farm animals. The initiative was backed by over 170 organisations across Europe, and surpassed the minimum quota in 16 EU member states.

““Today, one million people gave their voice to the hundreds of millions of farmed animals in Europe that are imprisoned in cages for most, or all of their lives,” says World Farming’s Head of EU Office Olga Kikou. A must-read for those looking for inspiration to set up a citizen initiative, or anyone not particularly fond of cages.

4. “New Research on Participatory Governance and Tax Compliance” by DemocracySpot

These new studies explore the link between participation and tax morale among citizens. The first study investigates how participatory budgeting can actually lead to more tax revenue, and the second one concluded that citizens are more committed to tax compliance when they’re able to have their say about government spending, and know what governments plan to do with public resources.

A must-read for everyone who pays taxes or has to collect them.

5. “Intelligent – rather than smart – cities can address the roots of urban challenges” by The Conversation

One more about smart cities! Much like the opinion piece written by the Stockholm mayor, this article argues that smart cities should move beyond the use of smart tech. Rather, cities are complex entities that require “intelligent, transformative and engaged efforts”. The article compares smart city approaches in the US, Canada and Europe, and analyses the key themes and challenges in all these smart city projects.

A must-read if you’re a smart city enthusiast, or just curious about how your city might soon outsmart you.

That’s it for our list of this week! If you’re looking for more, check out Apolitical’s Innovation Atlas containing the best civic tech resources. Also, download our brand-new comprehensive e-guide on participatory budgeting, or contact our experts to get started with digital participation in your city!

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