Murcia’s 1st Citizen Participation Congress
On the 8th of July 2016 Murcia City Hall celebrated its first Citizen Participation Congress. The “I Congress of Citizen Participation” is a singular initiative that combines local government in its traditional sense (decision making and daily tasks) with transparency, citizen participation and a modern approach to governance itself.
(Mayor José Ballesta adressing the gathered stakeholders)
The daylong event consisted of, amongst other things, a government council meeting that was open to the public (not to be confused with city council meetings which are always open to the public), presentations on various important topics Murcia City Hall is currently working on, amongst them the “Murcia Smart City Plan” and the “Murcia 2020 City Strategy” but also European Projects, especially the “Roadmaps for Energy” Project and the “URBACT Interactive Cities” Project.
Both projects strive to modernise local government in various fields, Smart Mobility & Smart Buildings, and Citizen Participation & Urban Regeneration respectively. The Councilmember for Government Modernization, Urban Quality & Participation, José Guillén, stated “We want new technologies to serve the public, giving better service, improving the quality of life and facilitating their relationship with the local government, being able to do so from the comfort of their own homes.”
Mercedes Hernandez, head of European Programmes, explained how the URBACT Interactive Cities project explores how digital, social media improve the relation between local government and the citizens, be it through citizen engagement, cohesion, identity or values, revisiting the relationship between the citizens and their city’s management, improving the quality of public services, etc. A project in which partners exchange knowledge and experiences in the use of communication tools, creating a joined transversal and multidisciplinary process of which the end-goal has always been the improvement of the quality of life for all of our citizens.
As for the part concerning the Roadmaps for Energy Project (R4E), the project was introduced as an initiative under the European “Horizon 2020”, paying special attention to the characterisation and the model of citizen services cities and municipalities should offer, the main areas of focus of the R4E project being, smart buildings, smart mobility and smart urban spaces, within the Smart City approach.