Valerie’s Participatory Citizenship

Assignment: Find and describe 3 digital tools that can be used to promote participatory citizenship. For each tool, describe how it works, and then analyze if it works.

 

3 tools to promote civic particpation

 

Community PlanIt (https://www.communityplanit.org)

Community PlanIt provides a framing that allows planners to guide citizens through the narrative of the planning process, creating opportunities along the way for learning, civil conversation, and meaningful input. Community PlanIt not only builds trust between citizens and planners, but is itself a powerful data collection tool that allows you to meaningfully analyze citizen input and truly incorporate it into the planning. – GamificationWorldMap

Community PlanIt has been used by cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, and Detroit to encourage citizen participation in city planing projects. Places like Moldova and Bhutan have used the platform to address the issue of youth unemployment. In the case of Moldova, 29 different Causes were generated to address the issue and the United Nations Development Program donated real-world funds to the top three.

I think that Community PlanIt has already had an impact, both nationally and globally, and could continue to do so. The hardest part will be gaining buy-in from citizens–which can only be truly be done by proving that the opinions and causes that members generate are taken seriously by community leaders.

 

Givelocity (https://www.givelocity.com)

Givelocity is a democratic crowdfunding platform. Members pledge a monthly amount ($1 or more), and then vote for their causes. At the end of the month the charities with the most votes get the pool of money. Members can even setup neighborhoods, which are groups of people/organizations that pool their donations and vote on causes specific to the theme of the neighborhood–for instance wildlife conservation, or humanitarian efforts. Some of the charities that have won in the past include the Big Life Foundation, Habitat for Humanity International, Doctors Without Borders, and Opportunity Village.

To help ensure charities manage donors’ money well, Givelocity lists nonprofits with 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator and the winning causes are required to tell members how they’ll use their Givelocity funds. – Nextavenue/PBS

I think that Givelocity is a good idea. It allows people to donate a small amount monthly, which many people can justify budget-wise better than giving a single larger sum. For many of the charities listed, any and every little bit helps. So, even if they aren’t getting huge donations, it is still helpful. The only detraction I can see, is that your money goes to whatever charity had the majority vote–which may not be one you support in particular.

 

Loomio (https://www.loomio.org/)

The Loomio application lets members of a group offer proposals, discuss their merits, make changes, and register their feelings all along the way. By entering into this process in good faith, even large groups can steer towards outcomes that may not be perfect for everyone, but make the fewest people unhappy — and nobody too very upset. – Sharable

Loomio believes by promoting and facilitating effective, inclusive decision-making they can bring change on a global scale. The civic activist app came out of the General Assembly attitude of the Occupy movement, to address the issue of there being no easy way to make group decisions online–a problem that left the Occupy movement ultimately hampered.

The National Assembly for Whales, used Loomio to give more time to discuss issues, focus face-to-face committee meetings, and hear from a much more diverse citizen pool. OuiShare, “an international community focusing on the collaborative economy and open source,” uses Loomio to make decisions across their global community and document when those decisions are made. Other groups that have used Loomio include remote villages in India and community hospitals in Vietnam.

I think Loomio is an interesting tool. It seems to have made an impact in both local and global communities. The format of being able to vote yes, no, abstain, or to ban the proposal, gives a lot of flexibility. Voting can also be turned off so Loomio becomes more a forum for debate and discussion, without the distraction of which side is winning. I like that they have a free membership, because it could be potentially used to model debates or General Assembly style consensus/democracy in a classroom.

 

Points: 10/10

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