CitizenLab helped Schiedam distribute feedbacks into the right departements

POPULATION
‎75 000 inhabitants
TYPE
Municipality

The city is known for its historical center with canals, and for having the tallest windmills in the world.

Challenges and goals

Under the heading of 'Schiedammers make the city' (Schiedammers maken de stad) the municipality launched a CitizenLab participation platform to consult the opinions and ideas of citizens online. With the platform, the municipality wants to "encourage people from Schiedam to think about how we can make the city more beautiful, cleaner, safer and healthier". Schiedam considers participation to be of major importance and citizen engagement is deeply rooted in the functioning of various municipal services and thus is a forerunner when it comes to citizen engagement. Via various projects (Neighbourhood Budget, 'Citizen Force Initiatives', citizen board groups, etc.), but also through a low-threshold way of communicating, the municipality is constantly looking for interaction with the citizens. It is no coincidence that you can easily find a 'participation toolkit' on the municipal website!

Setup

At first, the emphasis was put on collecting input for a project ("The Week of Happiness"), but quick the platform was also used to support broader, long-term projects. At all times the people from Schiedam can leave an 'open idea' on the platform, but the platform was also given as a tool to other services and departments within the city.

Method

Schiedam's project-based approach is in many ways very interesting. In short periods of time Schiedam gathered input around very specific themes which quickly led to over 200 registered users. Either this success was reached through an area-based approach ("Mark your spot!, or an online mapping method) in which citizens could pin their idea on a map either they focused on collecting comments and proposals about the state of tens of tunnels in Schiedam which are in need of renovation. 

Moderate

Schiedam strongly believes in the complementarity between the CitizenLab platform and social media (mostly Facebook). The administrators on the platform are sharing the best ideas on social media and manually ship the most important comments to the platform. In this way, there is a continuous discussion and the interaction with the citizens that don't lose sight of their input in long Facebook-threads. 

A clear visual identity together with linking what happens online with what happens offline, are important methods to get your target audience involved.

Selection and feedback

Various civil servants of the municipality of Schiedam also created a profile on the platform and identified themselves as such, by putting their 'role' in there profile description. This enabled them to participate in the discussions and provide feedback to citizen input when needed.

Citizens can also easily pin their ideas on a map inside the platform.

[ last update Sept 2018]

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