Integration of citizen engagement

All existing or planned education programmes and courses only involve citizens to a quite limited extent. This is a clear weakness, but probably a result of lacking experience and that this is seen as a quite complex task. With increased citizen engagement we should be able to increase the quality of many implementation plan, be able to test ideas at earlier stages etc. This could lead to meeting needs in a better way and a more efficient innovation process.

Do you agree with the statements above? How significant is this need? Why are not citizens an integrated element in more programmes and courses?

We should here focus on trying to understand the nature of the problem, so please try to avoid to discussion concrete solutions, even if it is difficult. Potential solutions will be discussed in the next step of the process.

7 thoughts on “Integration of citizen engagement

  1. Citizens are the ultimate users of any form of transportation and the beneficiaries of any mobility project or development. Hence they are bet placed to identify the needs and challenges in terms of mobility because mobility affects them directly (at least on the basis of an individual). And identifying these needs and challenges is essential because:
    1. they may represent a knowledge gap that can be bridged by education programmes specialised in mobility (whether academic or vocational). As such they can help designing these programmes
    2. because they need to be addressed in such education programmes

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  2. I agree with the comments posed by Adrien. I can also add that while citizens are often the best-positioned to identify mobility needs and challenges, on the front-end of implementation education could be required to target underrepresented groups to ensure that ALL citizens are empowered and able to engage in this needs/challenges identification, not just certain groups or types of citizens who are more naturally inclined to be involved/participate. Intentional efforts need to be made to ensure inclusive, representative participation from citizens. It may also be that those doing the education need additional training/upskilling on how to engage with more diverse audiences if they do not yet have this experience/skills.

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    1. I agree with Shannon. Designing good participation processes is important to ensure that the needs of vulnerable and underrepresented groups are also understood and met. The first step might have to be to convince policy makers of the need to invest the time and money required (it will take quite a bit of both) to carry out an authentic and effective stakeholder engagement process. Once the decision makers have bought in, the next step is to make sure planners (and others) know how to carry out an effective process. This would require both online and face-to-face activities.

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  3. Kids and youngsters may not be aware of the importance of urban mobility in their lives nor of the fact that they can really have a say in how the city and its transport system should look like. What are their needs? Why do they move around in the city as they do now? Do they know what other transport options there are? How to make them familiar of the many different mobility options and its pro´s and cons.

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  4. Often people talk about changing behaviour of citizens. But what about getting better insights into their behaviour? Why do they for example take the car instead of taking the bus? What are the reasons behind these mobiliity patterns? What are the actual needs of citizens? Are there solutions to the needs they have? Wouldn´t it be better to get better insights into the behavioural patterns and real needs of citizens and react on that, instead of providing solutions and then trying to change their behaviours?

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  5. This is one of the Responsible Research and innovation key. There are H2020 projects on RRI that can help EIT Mobility to understand what leverage, barriers, etc.. are in participatory process, how to make participation easy for citizens, how to make them feel empowered? how to make visible the results?
    How to make citizens innovators in open innovation processes?
    The key question to generate ideas can start with “How to connect cities’ interests with interested citizens?”

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  6. This is an important area, as pointed out above. How to involve citizens throughout planning processes, inclusion etc. are good topics for courses and should be an integrated part in all three Academy segments. If this should be a separate focus in the 2022 call is more unclear. Maybe if related to the improving public realm area.

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