Chiara Camponeschi has written an interesting post on the MIT CoLab Radio blog about everyday democracy in the urban environment. Public involvement in the collective decision making is now shifting from formal politics to an informal ongoing participation process. This has been made possible by a number of projects involving residents, local authorities and/or small enterprises in many areas including crowdmapping, open source urban planning and participatory budgeting. As the author writes,
These examples demonstrate that creative citizens are already making their voices heard. The question is: Are cities ready to hear what they have to say?
Most of such initiatives are collected and analyzed in an online publication by Camponeschi, The enabling city, distributed for free under a Creative Commons license. Not all the projects she mentions are exclusively web-based and reserved to tech-addicted nerds. Sometimes, a sheet of paper, a pair of scissors and a strong dose of creativity are sufficient to turn a mere “place” into a deliberative public space affordable to everyone (photo by Tim Devin).