Co-Creating e-Government Services: An Empirical Analysis of Participation Methods in Belgium


Paper by Anthony Simonofski, Monique Snoeck and Benoît Vanderose: “As citizens have more and more opportunities to participate in public life, it is essential that administrations integrate this participation in their e-government processes. A smarter, more participatory, governance is a well-recognized and essential part of any city that wants to become “Smart” and generate public value. In this chapter, we will focus on the impact of this participatory approach on the development of e-government services by the city. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to identify which methods administrations can apply to co-create their egovernment services with citizens and to understand the gap between the methods used in practice and citizens’ preferences.

As citizens have more and more opportunities to participate in public life, it is essential that administrations integrate this participation in their e-government processes. A smarter, more participatory, governance is a well-recognized and essential part of any city that wants to become “Smart” and generate public value. In this chapter, we will focus on the impact of this participatory approach on the development of e-government services by the city. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to identify which methods administrations can apply to co-create their e-government services with citizens and to understand the gap between the methods used in practice and citizens’ preferences.

This chapter contributes to research and practice in different ways. First, the literature review allows the identification of eight participation methods to co-create e-government services. Second, we further examine these methods by means of 28 in-depth interviews, a questionnaire sent to public servants and a questionnaire sent to citizens. This multi-method approach allows identifying the barriers and drivers of public servants regarding the co-creation of e-government services but also the citizens’ perception of these methods. By contrasting the identified methods with their implementation, we better understand the discrepancies between literature and practice. At the same time, this chapter will give practitioners a repository of participation methods as well as information about the perception public servants and citizens have of them. Finally, we expect the insights provided in this chapter will stimulate research on the practical use of all these different methods…(More)”

The Lancet Countdown: Tracking progress on health and climate change using data from the International Energy Agency (IEA)


Victoria Moody at the UK Data Service: “The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change—which assessed responses to climate change with a view to ensuring the highest attainable standards of health for populations worldwide—concluded that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century”. The Commission recommended that more accurate national quantification of the health co-benefits and economic impacts of mitigation decisions was essential in promoting a low-carbon transition.

Building on these foundations, the Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change was formed as an independent research collaboration…

The partnership comprises 24 academic institutions from every continent, bringing together individuals with a broad range of expertise across disciplines (including climate scientists, ecologists, mathematicians, geographers, engineers, energy, food, and transport experts, economists, social and political scientists, public health professionals, and physicians).

Four of the indicators developed for Working Group 3 (Mitigation actions and health co-benefits) uses International Energy Agency (IEA) data made available by the the IEA via the UK Data Service for use by researchers, learners and teaching staff in UK higher and further education. Additionally, two of the indicators developed for Working Group 4 (Finance and economics) also use IEA data.

Read our impact case study to find our more about the impact and reach of the Lancet Countdown, watch the YouTube film below, read the Lancet Countdown 2018 Report …(More)”

Twentieth Century Town Halls: Architecture of Democracy


Book by Jon Stewart: “This is the first book to examine the development of the town hall during the twentieth century and the way in which these civic buildings have responded to the dramatic political, social and architectural changes which took place during the period. Following an overview of the history of the town hall as a building type, it examines the key themes, variations and lessons which emerged during the twentieth century. This is followed by 20 case studies from around the world which include plans, sections and full-colour illustrations. Each of the case studies examines the town hall’s procurement, the selection of its architect and the building design, and critically analyses its success and contribution to the type’s development. The case studies include:

Copenhagen Town Hall, Denmark, Martin Nyrop

Stockholm City Hall, Sweden, Ragnar Ostberg

Hilversum Town Hall, the Netherlands, Willem M. Dudok

Walthamstow Town Hall, Britain, Philip Dalton Hepworth

Oslo Town Hall, Norway, Arnstein Arneberg and Magnus Poulsson

Casa del Fascio, Como, Italy, Guiseppe Terragni

Aarhus Town Hall, Denmark, Arne Jacobsen with Eric Moller

Saynatsalo Town Hall, Finland, Alvar Aalto

Kurashiki City Hall, Japan, Kenzo Tange

Toronto City Hall, Canada, Viljo Revell

Boston City Hall, USA, Kallmann, McKinnell and Knowles

Dallas City Hall, USA, IM Pei

Mississauga City Hall, Canada, Ed Jones and Michael Kirkland

Borgoricco Town Hall, Italy, Aldo Rossi

Reykjavik City Hall, Iceland, Studio Granda

Valdelaguna Town Hall, Spain, Victor Lopez Cotelo and Carlos Puente Fernandez

The Hague City Hall, the Netherlands, Richard Meier

Iragna Town Hall, Switzerland, Raffaele Cavadini

Murcia City Hall, Spain, Jose Rafael Moneo

London City Hall, UK, Norman Foster…(More)”.

Digital mile-markers provide navigation in cities


Springwise: “UK-based Maynard Design Consultancy has developed a system to help people navigate the changing landscape of city neighbourhoods. A prototype of a wayfinding solution for districts in London combines smart physical markers and navigational apps. The physical markers, inspired by traditional mile markers, include a digital screen. They provide real-time information, including daily news and messages from local businesses. The markers also track how people use the park, providing valuable information to the city and urban planners. The partnering apps provide up-to-date information about the changing environment in the city, such as on-going construction and delays due to large-scale events.

Unlike traditional, smartphone based navigational apps, this concept uses technology to help us reconnect with our surroundings, Maynard Design said.

The proposal won the Smart London District Challenge competition set by the Institute for Sustainability. Maynard is currently looking for partner companies to pilot its concept.

Takeaway: The Maynard design represents the latest efforts to use smartphones to amplify public safety announcements, general information and local businesses. The concept moves past traditional wayfinding markers to link people to a smart-city grid. By tracking how people use parks and other urban spaces, the markers will provide valuable insight for city officials. We expect more innovations like this as cities increasingly move toward seamless communication between services and city residents, aided by smart technologies. Over the past several months, we have seen technology to connect drivers to parking spaces and a prototype pavement that can change functions based on people’s needs….(More)”

How Tech Utopia Fostered Tyranny


Jon Askonas at The New Atlantis: “The rumors spread like wildfire: Muslims were secretly lacing a Sri Lankan village’s food with sterilization drugs. Soon, a video circulated that appeared to show a Muslim shopkeeper admitting to drugging his customers — he had misunderstood the question that was angrily put to him. Then all hell broke loose. Over a several-day span, dozens of mosques and Muslim-owned shops and homes were burned down across multiple towns. In one home, a young journalist was trapped, and perished.

Mob violence is an old phenomenon, but the tools encouraging it, in this case, were not. As the New York Times reported in April, the rumors were spread via Facebook, whose newsfeed algorithm prioritized high-engagement content, especially videos. “Designed to maximize user time on site,” as the Times article describes, the newsfeed algorithm “promotes whatever wins the most attention. Posts that tap into negative, primal emotions like anger or fear, studies have found, produce the highest engagement, and so proliferate.” On Facebook in Sri Lanka, posts with incendiary rumors had among the highest engagement rates, and so were among the most highly promoted content on the platform. Similar cases of mob violence have taken place in India, Myanmar, Mexico, and elsewhere, with misinformation spread mainly through Facebook and the messaging tool WhatsApp.

Follow The New AtlantisThis is in spite of Facebook’s decision in January 2018 to tweak its algorithm, apparently to prevent the kind of manipulation we saw in the 2016 U.S. election, when posts and election ads originating from Russia reportedly showed up in newsfeeds of up to 126 million American Facebook users. The company explained that the changes to its algorithm will mean that newsfeeds will be “showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation,” and “less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.” But these changes, which Facebook had tested out in countries like Sri Lanka in the previous year, may actually have exacerbated the problem — which is that incendiary content, when posted by friends and family, is guaranteed to “spark conversation” and therefore to be prioritized in newsfeeds. This is because “misinformation is almost always more interesting than the truth,” as Mathew Ingram provocatively put it in the Columbia Journalism Review.

How did we get here, from Facebook’s mission to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”? Riot-inducing “fake news” and election meddling are obviously far from what its founders intended for the platform. Likewise, Google’s founders surely did not build their search engine with the intention of its being censored in China to suppress free speech, and yet, after years of refusing this demand from Chinese leadership, Google has recently relented rather than pull their search engine from China entirely. And YouTube’s creators surely did not intend their feature that promotes “trending” content to help clickbait conspiracy-theory videos go viral.

These outcomes — not merely unanticipated by the companies’ founders but outright opposed to their intentions — are not limited to social media. So far, Big Tech companies have presented issues of incitement, algorithmic radicalization, and “fake news” as merely bumps on the road of progress, glitches and bugs to be patched over. In fact, the problem goes deeper, to fundamental questions of human nature. Tools based on the premise that access to information will only enlighten us and social connectivity will only make us more humane have instead fanned conspiracy theories, information bubbles, and social fracture. A tech movement spurred by visions of libertarian empowerment and progressive uplift has instead fanned a global resurgence of populism and authoritarianism.

Despite the storm of criticism, Silicon Valley has still failed to recognize in these abuses a sharp rebuke of its sunny view of human nature. It remains naïvely blind to how its own aspirations for social engineering are on a spectrum with the tools’ “unintended” uses by authoritarian regimes and nefarious actors….(More)”.

Index: Trust in Institutions 2019


By Michelle Winowatan, Andrew J. Zahuranec, Andrew Young, Stefaan Verhulst

The Living Library Index – inspired by the Harper’s Index – provides important statistics and highlights global trends in governance innovation. This installment focuses on trust in institutions.

Please share any additional, illustrative statistics on open data, or other issues at the nexus of technology and governance, with us at info@thelivinglib.org

Global Trust in Public Institutions

Trust in Government

United States

  • Americans who say their democracy is working at least “somewhat well:” 58% – 2018
  • Number who believe sweeping changes to their government are needed: 61% – 2018
  • Percentage of Americans expressing faith in election system security: 45% – 2018
  • Percentage of Americans expressing an overarching trust in government: 40% – 2019
  • How Americans would rate the trustworthiness of Congress: 4.1 out of 10 – 2017
  • Number who have confidence elected officials act in the best interests of the public: 25% – 2018
  • Amount who trust the federal government to do what is right “just about always or most of the time”: 18% – 2017
  • Americans with trust and confidence in the federal government to handle domestic problems: 2 in 5 – 2018
    • International problems: 1 in 2 – 2018
  • US institution with highest amount of confidence to act in the best interests of the public: The Military (80%) – 2018
  • Most favorably viewed level of government: Local (67%) – 2018
  • Most favorably viewed federal agency: National Park Service (83% favorable) – 2018
  • Least favorable federal agency: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (47% unfavorable) – 2018

United Kingdom

  • Overall trust in government: 42% – 2019
    • Number who think the country is headed in the “wrong direction:” 7 in 10 – 2018
    • Those who have trust in politicians: 17% – 2018
    • Amount who feel unrepresented in politics: 61% – 2019
    • Amount who feel that their standard of living will get worse over the next year: Nearly 4 in 10 – 2019
  • Trust the national government handling of personal data:

European Union

Africa

Latin America

Other

Trust in Media

  • Percentage of people around the world who trust the media: 47% – 2019
    • In the United Kingdom: 37% – 2019
    • In the United States: 48% – 2019
    • In China: 76% – 2019
  • Rating of news trustworthiness in the United States: 4.5 out of 10 – 2017
  • Number of citizens who trust the press across the European Union: Almost 1 in 2 – 2019
  • France: 3.9 out of 10 – 2019
  • Germany: 4.8 out of 10 – 2019
  • Italy: 3.8 out of 10 – 2019
  • Slovenia: 3.9 out of 10 – 2019
  • Percentage of European Union citizens who trust the radio: 59% – 2017
    • Television: 51% – 2017
    • The internet: 34% – 2017
    • Online social networks: 20% – 2017
  • EU citizens who do not actively participate in political discussions on social networks because they don’t trust online social networks: 3 in 10 – 2018
  • Those who are confident that the average person in the United Kingdom can tell real news from ‘fake news’: 3 in 10 – 2018

Trust in Business

Sources

Impact of a nudging intervention and factors associated with vegetable dish choice among European adolescents


Paper by Q. Dos Santos et al: “To test the impact of a nudge strategy (dish of the day strategy) and the factors associated with vegetable dish choice, upon food selection by European adolescents in a real foodservice setting.

A cross-sectional quasi-experimental study was implemented in restaurants in four European countries: Denmark, France, Italy and United Kingdom. In total, 360 individuals aged 12-19 years were allocated into control or intervention groups, and asked to select from meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based meals. All three dishes were identically presented in appearance (balls with similar size and weight) and with the same sauce (tomato sauce) and side dishes (pasta and salad). In the intervention condition, the vegetable-based option was presented as the “dish of the day” and numbers of dishes chosen by each group were compared using the Pearson chi-square test. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was run to assess associations between choice of vegetable-based dish and its potential associated factors (adherence to Mediterranean diet, food neophobia, attitudes towards nudging for vegetables, food choice questionnaire, human values scale, social norms and self-estimated health, country, gender and belonging to control or intervention groups). All analyses were run in SPSS 22.0.

The nudging strategy (dish of the day) did not show a difference on the choice of the vegetable-based option among adolescents tested (p = 0.80 for Denmark and France and p = 0.69 and p = 0.53 for Italy and UK, respectively). However, natural dimension of food choice questionnaire, social norms and attitudes towards vegetable nudging were all positively associated with the choice of the vegetable-based dish. Being male was negatively associated with choosing the vegetable-based dish.

The “dish of the day” strategy did not work under the study conditions. Choice of the vegetable-based dish was predicted by natural dimension, social norms, gender and attitudes towards vegetable nudging. An understanding of factors related to choosing vegetable based dishes is necessary for the development and implementation of public policy interventions aiming to increase the consumption of vegetables among adolescents….(More)”

Artificial Intelligence and National Security


Report by Congressional Research Service: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing field of technology with potentially significant implications for national security. As such, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and other nations are developing AI applications for a range of military functions. AI research is underway in the fields of intelligence collection and analysis, logistics, cyber operations, information operations, command and control, and in a variety of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles.

Already, AI has been incorporated into military operations in Iraq and Syria. Congressional action has the potential to shape the technology’s development further, with budgetary and legislative decisions influencing the growth of military applications as well as the pace of their adoption.

AI technologies present unique challenges for military integration, particularly because the bulk of AI development is happening in the commercial sector. Although AI is not unique in this regard, the defense acquisition process may need to be adapted for acquiring emerging technologies like AI.

In addition, many commercial AI applications must undergo significant modification prior to being functional for the military. A number of cultural issues also challenge AI acquisition, as some commercial AI companies are averse to partnering with DOD due to ethical concerns, and even within the department, there can be resistance to incorporating AI technology into existing weapons systems and processes.

Potential international rivals in the AI market are creating pressure for the United States to compete for innovative military AI applications. China is a leading competitor in this regard, releasing a plan in 2017 to capture the global lead in AI development by 2030. Currently, China is primarily focused on using AI to make faster and more well-informed decisions, as well as on developing a variety of autonomous military vehicles. Russia is also active in military AI development, with a primary focus on robotics. Although AI has the potential to impart a number of advantages in the military context, it may also introduce distinct challenges.

AI technology could, for example, facilitate autonomous operations, lead to more informed military decisionmaking, and increase the speed and scale of military action. However, it may also be unpredictable or vulnerable to unique forms of manipulation. As a result of these factors, analysts hold a broad range of opinions on how influential AI will be in future combat operations.

While a small number of analysts believe that the technology will have minimal impact, most believe that AI will have at least an evolutionary—if not revolutionary—effect….(More)”.

WeDialogue


WeDialogue: “… is a global experiment to test new solutions for commenting on news online. The objective of weDialogue is to promote humility in public discourse and prevent digital harassment and trolling.

What am I expected to do?

The task is simple. You are asked to fill out a survey, then wait until the experiment begins. You will then be given a login for your platform. There you will be able to read and comment on news as if it was a normal online newspaper or blog. We would like people to comment as much as possible, but you are free to contribute as much as you want. At the end of the experiment we would be very grateful if you could fill in a final survey and provide us with feedback on the overall experience.

Why is important to test new platforms for news comments?

We know the problems of harassment and trolling (see our video), but the solution is not obvious. Developers have proposed new platforms, but these have not been tested rigorously. weDialogue is a participatory action research project that aims to combine academic expertise and citizens’ knowledge and experience to test potential solutions.

What are you going to do with the research?

All our research and data will be publicly available so that others can build upon it. Both the Deliberatorium and Pol.is are free software that can be reused. The data we will create and the resulting publications will be released in an open access environment.

Who is weDialogue?

weDialogue is an action research project led by a team of academics at the University of Westminster (UK) and the University of Connecticut (USA).  For more information about the academic project see our academic project website.…(More)”.

Open Data Politics: A Case Study on Estonia and Kazakhstan


Book by Maxat Kassen: “… offers a cross-national comparison of open data policies in Estonia and Kazakhstan. By analyzing a broad range of open data-driven projects and startups in both countries, it reveals the potential that open data phenomena hold with regard to promoting public sector innovations. The book addresses various political and socioeconomic contexts in these two transitional societies, and reviews the strategies and tactics adopted by policymakers and stakeholders to identify drivers of and obstacles to the implementation of open data innovations. Given its scope, the book will appeal to scholars, policymakers, e-government practitioners and open data entrepreneurs interested in implementing and evaluating open data-driven public sector projects….(More)”