Interview with Maria Sangiuliano, chair of the Citizen Focus Action Cluster

29.06.2016
By Marketplace Editorial
Interview

Maria Sangiuliano, chair of the EIP-SCC Citizen Focus Action Cluster, wants to encourage smart cities stakeholders “to comment and to propose their views” on the Citizen Engagement Manifesto that the Action Cluster is preparing and that will be presented at the Conference ‘Inclusive Smart Cities: A European Manifesto on Citizen Engagement’ to be held in Brussels on November 23rd 2016. Her advice is: “You should do it if you want to have your say on why and how engaging citizens into smart cities projects has to be a pre-requisite for achieving inclusive and sustainable smart cities”.

Citizen engagement has recently become a priority for the smart cities agenda and during the last General Assembly of the EIP-SCC Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, and other policy makers stressed the importance of citizen centric smart cities as well as citizen engagement.

We are aware that there is a strong interest and strong movement around this type of approach and practice and, through the Manifesto, we really want to foster this interest even further and to ask cities and regions to commit to the Manifesto as they have the tools to make it real, through their ERDF Regional Operational Plans, local and regional Digital Agendas as well as the public procurement of smart cities projects and solutions.

It is very important for us to activate the networks, further announce mutual learning practices among cities and regions and to stress how important it is to include citizen engagement into the above mentioned policy documents and plans as well as implementation rules and procedures. Furthermore, we aim to promote some particular methods such as co-design and co-creation and also to stress the importance of privacy by design in smart cities and open data in order to allow citizens to monitor public policies through the availability of public data.

What we want concretely to achieve is to collect at least 100 signatories among cities and regions. We are doing this together with our co-promoting partners within this action who are mainly ERRIN (the European Network of Regions) and ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives).

  • When and where will be the Manifesto presented?

It will be presented during the Conference ‘Inclusive Smart Cities: A European Manifesto on Citizen Engagement’ that will take place on November 23rd 2016 in Brussels hosted by the Dutch Permanent Representation. At the conference we will present the final version gathering the main signatories and start a discussion on how to follow up with the commitments that we managed to get.

  • You are currently developing the manifesto. You had some discussions on it during the EIP-SCC General Assembly and it is now going through a co-creation process. Can everyone participate in this process? How?

The co-creation process has just started. We have prepared a dedicated page on the EIP-SCC Market Place where we have uploaded the current version of the manifesto (link).

Now it is the time for cities and any type of smart city stakeholder to comment and to propose their views and eventually suggestions for changes. It will not take very much time, just three questions with very short answers. At the end of the consultation, all the feedback will be integrated in a final version, to be delivered by the end of September.

We really hope to get inputs both from city and regional stakeholders but also the research, environment and business community, citizens themselves, city organisations and civil society representatives.

  • Are other EIP-SCC Initiatives supporting Citizen Focus Action Cluster in the elaboration of the Manifesto?

Obviously, before sharing it with the broader audience, we started an internal discussion within the EIP-SCC. We got a very positive and active collaboration from the Integrated Planning Action Cluster and also the Small Giants and Urban Platform Initiatives were very much engaged. In addition, during the meetings in Eindhoven we opened the topic for suggestions and potential collaborations on contents and dissemination with all the clusters and initiatives.

  • A message to encourage people to collaborate in the preparation of the manifesto...

You should do it if you want to have your say on why and how engaging citizens into smart city projects has to be a pre-requisite for achieving inclusive and sustainable smart cities.

  •  What will be the next steps after launching the manifesto?

During the presentation conference in November we will discuss possible follow up actions to be undertaken. As the EIP-SCC is coming to an end of its second period of operations, we envisage that from 2017 onwards, and once the new phase for the EIP-SCC kicks-off, we will jointly work on a series of follow-up actions for the Manifesto.