Citizen participation and the rise of the Open Source City in Spain 

Citizen participation and the rise of the Open Source City in Spain 

In the public sector, Spain has made big efforts not to lag behind digital leaders in terms of public e-readiness and e-government, but the country's economic and political frameworks have dragged it downwards in global Networked Readiness rankings. Literature shows that the crisis of participation and representation is pushing citizens outside of institutional politics and into new kinds of organisations which are strong in digital and social media. However, these efforts do not seem to be able to establish a dialogue with the institutions of representative democracy in order to perform the task that is needed – reform of the aforementioned institutions.

This Brief looks at initiatives that are working towards enabling citizen voices to be heard. It discusses the Spanish Indignados Movement of citizen protest, and digital open city projects Decide Madrid and decidim.barcelona, which are highlighting the power of ICTs to bring more resources into democratic processes. The brief is part of a series from IT for Change produced from its Voice or Chatter research project, which examines the relationship between ICT-mediated citizen engagement and democratic governance.

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