Public Project Portal

SUMMARY

ICEconsult is an engineering- and software solution company that has developed solutions for planning and project management within cities and towns for many years. In 2008 ICEconsult and Reykjavik City started cooperation and developed a web based prototype, City Direct, a platform through which the citizens of Reykjavik can share their ideas about budgetary expenditures and municipal priorities directly with the city. The Reykjavik City Council wanted to engage the citizenry by allowing them to control the expenditure of a certain amount of the city funding, therein giving the citizenry the opportunity to prioritize projects and consider budgetary limitations ICEconsult’s solution connected the city’s GIS system to ICEconsult´s web system called MainManager. Through this setup, the citizens could identify a certain open area or specific street and share their ideas, comments or criticisms. The public commentary was then reviewed and published on a daily basis. Citizens were then asked to vote on the proposals within the published public commentary and to rate each project as priority (each citizen could vote once on each project). Through this process, Reykjavik’s operation division learned what the people want efficiently and effectively. The project received considerable promotion including advertisements in newspapers and on buses, in and around Reykjavik.

PROBLEM
Every year cities must devote a substantial amount of their budget to maintaining public infrastructure such as streets, buildings and open areas. Unfortunately, this spending is not always directed as efficiently or as effectively as possible. Moreover, citizens are often not involved in the decision-making process surrounding municipal expenditure. Our challenge is  to use new technologies to change the way cities promote local democracy to engage the citizenry and give them a stake in municipal decision making.

SOLUTION
ICEconsult is an engineering- and software solution company that has developed solutions for planning and project management within cities and towns for many years. In 2008 ICEconsult and Reykjavik City started cooperation and developed a web based prototype, City Direct, a platform through which the citizens of Reykjavik can share their ideas about budgetary expenditures and municipal priorities directly with the city. The Reykjavik City Council wanted to engage the citizenry by allowing them to control the expenditure of a certain amount of the city funding, therein giving the citizens the opportunity to prioritize projects and consider budgetary limitations. ICEconsult’s solution connected the city’s GIS system to ICEconsult´s web system called MainManager. Through this setup, the citizens could identify a certain open area or specific street and share their ideas, comments or criticisms. The public commentary was then reviewed and published on a daily basis. Citizens were then asked to vote on the proposals within the published public commentary and to rate each project as priority (each citizen could vote once on each project). Through this process, Reykjavik’s operation division learned what the people want efficiently and effectively. Watch the official video about Ready, steady, Reykjavik - City direct.: http://www.iceconsult.com/flow/rsrflow.html 

IMPACT ON ECONOMY
Our project revealed that people are willing and able to participate as long as they are given simple and interesting options. It is very important that the solution is available and easily accessible, contains live data and that the citizens get responses to their comments and wishes in a timely fashion. The pilot period was five months and during that time about 2,200 project ideas were received and 16,000 votes were given (not bad for a city of only 115.000 inhabitants). 

Following the project a promotional campaign was conducted and the Reykjavik City employees announced what projects had been chosen for each district. The project is considered very successful and was nominated for the EUROCITIES awards in 2008.

As the project was a great success in Reykjavik, ICEconsult is looking to expand the project to other cities. Because every city has limited funding designated for open areas, streets etc, this project aims to enable the cities to take a role in maximally utilizing this limited expenditure; moreover, the project enables citizens to take a more active role in their city’s governing process. 

IMPACT ON CULTURE
Citizens got involved in the political challenge of prioritizing limited public resources.

IMPACT ON ECOLOGY
By empowering the citizens to report incidents, ideas etc., the municipality can reduces the number of inspection routines, and lower the emission of CO2 by reducing the miles driven collecting the inspections data.

IMPACT ON POLITICS
The politicians got a better understanding of the needs among the citizens in Reykjavik.The project received considerable promotion including advertisements in newspapers and on busses, in and around Reykjavik. On the City Direct page the citizens had open access to live data on the distribution of projects across town and regular news related to project development. According to standard web measurements the City Direct webpage was the most viewed page for several weeks.