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ROUTETOPA Case Study: Prato Municipality Pilot

Posted: 6th September 2017 at 6:13 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

In this ROUTETOPA case study series, we shine a light on public administrations, organizations and communities that have adopted and are using ROUTETOPA tools  for work and discussions around open data 

This case study narrative was written by Prato Pilot’s Elena Palmisano.

Prato is the second largest city in Tuscany, with a population of about 190,000 inhabitants, becoming 370,000 in the provincial territory. The city is known throughout the world for its textile companies, but also boasts many artistic beauties and gastronomic excellence. For many years, the municipal administration has invested in telecommunication infrastructures and e-government services, also with the aim of stimulating citizens’ participation processes. Since 2002, the city has had Rules of Participation, which governs the processes of citizens’ involvement in urban policies: town meetings, discussion tables, civic observatories. In addition, social networks (Facebook and Twitter) are used to communicate and interact with citizenship.

The Municipality of Prato is involved in the Route-to-PA project as a pilot city, where the tools produced in the project are experienced through the implementation of some application scenarios. In particular, the Social Platform for Open Data (SPOD) is currently being used in Prato to gather suggestions from citizens regarding the location of new wi-fi antennas, which the administration is about to install to expand the existing network. At present, 34 proposals have been collected, covering different areas of the city.

Map of citizens’ proposals for the new wi-fi installations (Mappa delle prroposte dei cittadini pe rle nuove installazioni wi-fi)

In addition, the SPOD platform represents a channel by which citizens can ask the administration to publish datasets of particular interest.

With regard to the publication of open data in Prato, the main problem is the need to motivate municipal offices, which must produce datasets according to certain formats and do not always have the opportunity to devote themselves to this task. We managed to build a positive climate by explaining the benefits of the project and identifying specific roles that would allow “automating” the process. The set up of the CKAN-based Transparency Enabling Toolset (TET) platform for dataset publication also took a lot of time, but thanks to the collaboration with the software developers in the project and the exchange of experience with other administrations using the same platform, we managed to solve the various issues to make the datasets usable on TET.

Population distribution by age in the area of Galciana-Capezzana, 2016. (Distribuzione della popolazione per età nella zona Galciana-Capezzana, 2016)

At present, the real challenge is to keep users active on SPOD, so that collaborations between  can produce results. In this regard, the role of “community builder” is very important, as he/she must have the ability to interact with users and provide the right stimuli.

As we are currently in the project’s third year,  there will be a collective mapping of existing tabernacles in the city area with the involvement of schools: the end-result will be a collective dataset which will be included among the open data released by the administration on TET.  We hope that this collaborative activity will serve as an insightful example on the use of SPOD and TET for the enhancement of the local collective cultural heritage and the preservation of the memory of the territory.

Hopefully, SPOD will soon also be used to facilitate citizen and administration discussions on the recently adopted consolidated budget, to improve transparency and offer the ability to evaluate the results obtained in a more effective and informed manner, based on actual data.

Interested in collaborating with Prato pilot? Sign up and let us know on Prato’s Social Platform for Open Data.

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