→ I get involved in decisions taken concerning my municipality
→ I am part of the major projects in my community
→ I express the real needs of citizens
It seems that topics related to society at large inspire me a lot these days. Perhaps it’s also because the school and business year is starting, but I want to share with you a developing trend: participative democracy.
For me, voting every now and then isn’t truly participative and I feel that I’m not the only one feeling this, if I base myself on what I hear around me. A few years ago, it was certainly technically difficult to consult tens of thousands of persons on a given topic within a short span of time, apart from the occasional referendum, but all it takes now is just a couple clicks.
Thanks to the miracle of the Web, today it’s possible to ask an entire city’s inhabitants to give their opinion on problems that they can relate to, in order to find solutions that match needs of the greatest number of persons. And it works! Everywhere this has been tried, citizens feel more recognized, they take on the challenges in their community and everyone is the better for it. On the other hand, elected representatives feel a greater legitimacy to their position and feel they are really doing their work of serving the people, both through enlightening them about complex topics, and also by being able to understand expectations of the masses on touchy topics.
Even if other countries are much more advanced than we are on this topic, in Latin America for instance, still, it’s encouraging to realize that more and more French municipalities are setting this up. In my case, I was recently allowed to vote on how a portion of the Paris Municipality’s budget would be spent.
There are also websites on the Internet or applications, like “Stig”, that help you share your ideas as citizens and vote to push suggestions you like. What works for a municipality can work for a country, and it’s getting possible to create, modify, and comment projects together with other citizens and representatives to share ideas simply and directly.
Let’s hope it lasts! Up to us now. How? It’s easy. If there is already such a system set up in your municipality, sign up to share your thoughts; and if there isn’t yet, write to your representatives or mayors to ask them to set it up.