Barcelona is putting technology and data at the service of the people and changing the way that the public authority works with them. In fact, it has a Plan for leading the way for the transition towards technological sovereignty.
As ‘digital cities’ emerge throughout the world, Barcelona aims to provide a global model for how new technologies can serve citizens.
Open, fair, circular and democratic, Barcelona is a digital city that starts not from ‘smart’ technology – such as connectivity, sensors and data – but from the everyday concerns of its citizens.
People are committed: creating, discussing and rethinking their own city. But they are also protected: digital rights are priorities.
Decidim is a digital platform for citizen participation that works to build a city that is more open, transparent and collaborative. This open-source platform is seen as a social network for political participation.
Over 40,000 people have signed up to the free software project since 2016. Seventy percent of the 13,000 citizen proposals has been incorporated into municipal public policies.
Decode is a decentralised tool that gives people control over their personal information. Its aim is to increase awareness of the value of data within our digitalised society and to foster digital sovereignty.
People can decide collectively and democratically on the direction of technological change and public innovation – and decide what data they want to keep private or share and with whom and on what terms.
The two platforms are working together for a genuinely participatory democracy and to integrate collective intelligence into the political decision-making process, whether affordable housing, sustainable mobility or climate change.
The idea is to create ‘data communities’ owned by citizens to create more public value and help the city to better manage public services such as transport, health care and education.
By giving control back to its citizens, the City Council can meet their needs though policies. The Barcelona Digital City Plan was launched so that the city could take such decisions; and Ethical Digital Standards are a sort of social pact on data. The next step is to collaborate with other cities to create critical mass.
Public policy has to put people first, investing in humanity as much as in technology. As a lot of cities and governments are looking into new technological policies, Barcelona is ready to lead the way.
Watch ► Francesca Bria, Barcelona City Council’s Commissioner for Digital Technology and Innovation, meets Decidim Lead Arnau Monterde in the former Fabra i Coats textile factory.
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