Fiorella De Cendio

University of Milano

Topic: Facilitating Participation and Deliberation at the Urban Level

Since the pioneers’ age of the Internet, many people cherish the dream and the thought that the net could be a platform able to give voice to citizens and to increase democracy. However, the experience has proved that to get concrete results in this direction is always much more difficult than envisaging the idea.

My presentation aims at sharing the lessons learned while pursuing this goal since 1994, when the Civic Informatics Laboratory at the University of Milan and the Milan Community Network got started. After the early experiences of community and civic networks, through the dark years of the heavy institutional e-government services, I will present experiences performed over the last couple of years by using a software environment designed to facilitate participation and deliberation at the urban level.  The lecture will present the rationale behind the software, will show several examples of use (in big towns like Milan, in smaller cities like Vigevano, in developing countries) and will discuss what we learned from these cases in terms of moments and modes for triggering participation and finalizing deliberation.