A Better Reykjavik and a stronger community: The benefits of crowdsourcing and e-democracy

Dyfrig Williams at Medium: “2008 was a difficult time in Iceland. All three of the country’s major privately owned banks went under, which prompted a financial crisis that enveloped the country and even reached local authorities in Wales.

The Better Reykjavik website was launched before the municipal elections and became a hub for online participation.

  • 70,000 people participated out of a population of 120,000
  • 12,000 registered users submitted over 3,300 ideas and5,500 points for and against
  • 257 ideas were formally reviewed, and 165 have been accepted since 2011

As an external not-for-profit website, Better Reykjavik was better able to involve people because it wasn’t perceived to be part of pre-existing political structures.

Elected members

In the run up to the elections, the soon to be Mayor Jón Gnarr championed the platform at every opportunity. This buy-in from a prominent figure was key, as it publicised the site and showed that there was buy-in for the work at the highest level.

How does it work?

The website enables people to have a direct say in the democratic process. The website gives the space for people to propose, debate and rate ways that their community can be improved. Every month the council is obliged to discuss the 10–15 highest rated ideas from the website….(More)