Civic Technology for Social Innovation

A Systematic Literature Review

Abstract

The recent surge of investment in Civic Technologies represents a unique opportunity to realize the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for improving democratic participation. In this review, we study what technologies are proposed and evaluated in the academic literature for such goal. We focus our exploration on how civic technology is used in the collaborative creation of solutions for social issues and innovations for public services (i.e., social innovation). Our goal is to provide researchers, designers, and practitioners a starting point to understand both the academic state of the art and the existing opportunities for ICT in a democracy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For more, see http://www.slideshare.net/knightfoundation/knight-civictech

  2. 2.

    For a discussion on the term, see https://medium.com/@emilydshaw/debugging-democracy-bfa68e37967b

  3. 3.

    Defining social innovation: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/centers-initiatives/csi/defining-social-innovation

  4. 4.

    Transparency and Open Government declaration: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/transparency-and-open-government

  5. 5.

    The full data set of articles can be accessed at https://goo.gl/gJ1nnb

  6. 6.

    The full list of pre-selected articles, along with the justification of exclusion, is available at https://goo.gl/gJ1nnb

  7. 7.

    An interactive web site to navigate through all 35 articles in our study is available at https://participa.org.py/civic-technologies

  8. 8.

    Participatory democracy is a democratic model that envisions the broad participation of citizens in “their self-governance” (Pateman 2012)

  9. 9.

    http://maps.google.com

  10. 10.

    http://openstreetmap.org

  11. 11.

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS): a system used to report and display spatial and geographical information (Tomlin 1990)

  12. 12.

    See http://ideas.pbnyc.org/

  13. 13.

    See https://www.participatorybudgeting.org/mapping-data-driven-community-decisions/

  14. 14.

    http://www.opengovpartnership.org/

  15. 15.

    We use the OECD definition, “innovation in the public sector refers to significant improvements to public administration and/or services”. In this case, we refer to the involvement of citizens in the processes that lead to this kind of improvements. For more, see http://www.oecd.org/gov/innovative-government/a-framework-for-public-sector-innovation.htm

  16. 16.

    https://www.challenge.gov

  17. 17.

    https://vallejopb.appcivist.org

  18. 18.

    Participatory budgeting often features several phases of proposal development, where volunteer residents spend several months researching, discussing and deliberating on project proposals, before reaching the final voting phase

  19. 19.

    https://www.fixmystreet.com/

  20. 20.

    http://tictec.mysociety.org/

  21. 21.

    http://cirn.wikispaces.com

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Dr. Brandie Nonnecke and Dr. Tanja Aitamurto for their generous collaboration as experts in the Delphi process of the study. This work was supported by CONACYT, Paraguay through the program PROCIENCIA and resources from the Fund for the Excellence in Education and Research (FEEI by its Spanish acronym).

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Correspondence to Jorge Saldivar.

Appendix A: Selected Studies

Appendix A: Selected Studies

[S1] Anwar, Afian; Bernhard Klein; Matthias Berger; and Stefan Muller Arisona (2015). Value lab Asia: A space for physical and virtual interdisciplinary research and collaboration. In: iV ’15. 19th International Conference on Information Visualization, Barcelona, Spain, 2015. pp. 348–353.

[S2] Bailey, Keiron; Benjamin Blandfor; Ted Grossardt; and John Ripy (2011). Planning, technology, and legitimacy: Structured public involvement in integrated transportation and land-use planning in the United States. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 447–467.

[S3] Bojovic, Dragana; Laura Bonzanigo; Carlo Giupponi; and Alexandros Maziotis (2015). Online participation in climate change adaptation: A case study of agricultural adaptation measures in Northern Italy. Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 157, pp. 8–19.

[S4] Farnham, Shelly; David Keyes; Vicky Yuki; and Chris Tugwell (2012). Puget Sound off: Fostering Youth Civic Engagement Through Citizen Journalism. In: CSCW ’12. Proceedings of the ACM 2012 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, Washington, USA, 2012. New York, NY, USA, pp. 285–294.

[S5] Fredericks, Joel; Martin Tomitsch; Luke Hespanhol; and Ian McArthur (2015). Digital Pop-Up: Investigating Bespoke Community Engagement in Public Spaces. In: OzCHI ’15. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction, Parkville, VIC, Australia, 2015. New York, NY, USA, pp. 634–642.

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[S26] Sánchez-Nielsen, Elena; and Deirdre Lee (2013). Eparticipation in practice in Europe: The case of “Puzzled by Policy: Helping you be part of EU.” In: HICSS ’13. Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, USA, 2013. pp. 1870–1879.

[S27] Sawhney, Nitin; Christo de Klerk; and Shriya Malhotra (2015). Civic Engagement through DIY Urbanism and Collective Networked Action. Planning Practice & Research, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 337–354.

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[S29] Schroeter, Ronald (2012). Engaging New Digital Locals with Interactive Urban Screens to Collaboratively Improve the City. In: CSCW ’12. Proceedings of the ACM 2012 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, Washington, USA, 2012. New York, NY, USA, pp. 227–236.

[S30] Steinberger, Fabius; Marcus Foth; and Florian Alt (2014). Vote With Your Feet: Local Community Polling on Urban Screens. In: PerDis ’14. Proceedings of The International Symposium on Pervasive Displays, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2014. New York, NY, USA, pp. 44–49.

[S31] Thiel, Sarah Kristin; Ulrich Lehner; Theresa Sturmer; and Janina Gospodarek (2015). Insights from a m-participation prototype in the wild. In: PerCom ’15. IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communication Workshops, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 2015. pp. 166–171.

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[S33] Wagner, Ina (2012). Building urban narratives: Collaborative site-seeing and envisioning in the MR tent. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 1–42.

[S34] Wilson, Matthew W. (2011). ‘Training the eye’: formation of the geocoding subject. Social & Cultural Geography, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 357–376.

[S35] Woodcock, Andree; Katerina Frankova; and Laurence Garton (2012). VoiceYourView: Anytime, anyplace, anywhere user participation. Work, vol. 41, no. Supplement 1, pp. 997–1003.

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Saldivar, J., Parra, C., Alcaraz, M. et al. Civic Technology for Social Innovation. Comput Supported Coop Work 28, 169–207 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10606-018-9311-7

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Keywords

  • Civic technology
  • Participatory democracy
  • Public service innovation
  • Social innovation