How to leverage the democratic potential of map-based participation in municipalities? Harmonization efforts, policy reform, community involvement
07-20, 12:00–12:20 (Poland), Room CA7

German municipalities are beginning to discover the potential of map-based citizen participation - sometimes, but not always using OpenStreetMap. Those projects however remain in a very narrow focus, catering only to niche audiences. But to reach their full democratic potential, a broader focus would be needed – and thus common technical standards and interoperability. In this talk, we will speak about our efforts to push for harmonization in the German smart city landscape and for a stronger role of the federal government in providing standards and infrastructure. With the audience, we will discuss a) the extent to which advocacy work should be carried out at the EU level and b) possible ways of involving the OSM community in those efforts.

German municipalities are beginning to discover the potential of map-based citizen participation - sometimes, but not always using OpenStreetMap. However those projects remain in a very narrow focus: they either exclusively focus on problem reporting, on citizen input for specific planning processes, on citizen input about their general ideas and needs or on citizen information. These are all sensible use cases – but a holistic approach is rarely pursued.

Yet from a municipal perspective, map-based participation, this should matter: Because if a map offers added value from the citizen's point of view, it becomes a lively place - where people come together with their thoughts, their data and their potential for participation. Administrations (and municipal companies) can make use of this: for contact with the population, for recording needs and ideas, for planning, for the joint development of new services and even operating models or for impact measurement.

With these map-based projects, a well-known smart city problem is becoming apparent: several similar projects are being developed in parallel, which are implemented in different technical ways. Technical compatibility with related applications is not taken into account. Neither APIs nor common standards are being developed. There is no focus on the necessary common infrastructure.

At Agora Digitale Transformation, a German non-profit think tank, we are currently working with local authorities and civil society organizations on a vision of such a "city map of the future". In June, we will publish a vision paper that lays out the concrete policy steps for this to become reality. With the SotM EU audience, we want to a) share our findings and experiences, b) discuss the EU-implications of such policy efforts and c) discuss how the OSM community could partake in this policy work.

Innovation Lead for Participatory Governance @ Agora Digitale Transformation, a German non-profit Think Tank

As an Innovation Lead at Agora Digitale Transformation, Mathias works to ensure that the means of a digitalized world also become effective levers for a just society. Mathias holds a doctorate in political science and has not only led research projects on digital participation and smart cities / regions, but has also implemented numerous innovations into municipal practice. Mathias is convinced that new forms of cooperation between the state, civil society and citizens are needed for a real transformation to succeed.

About Agora Digitale Transformation:
For us, our democracy is the political "operating system" for citizens: How stable it runs depends on how digital technologies are used in the interests of citizens and in exchange with them. We are therefore working on updates for the operating system of democracy - updates that take advantage of the opportunities of the digital transformation as implementable and practice-oriented solutions. For a strong democracy, now and in the future.