KYOPOL: Co-creating a neural system for the urban social organism

In this blog we will mainly inform on about the Process of collaborative creation of the Kyopol System (aka “Symbiotic City”), a Municipal Participation system, based on Web2.0 technologies and concepts, that aims at facilitating civic engagement and citizen activation in the regional and municipal level.

{Update 18/04/2013: The project’s team decided, by means of a collaborative process, to change the system’s future name from “KyoPol” to “CitYsens”}

KYOPOL provides a “connective infrastructure” that acts as a “civic neural system” for the city, allowing that the ‘urban social organism’ (that the inhabitants of the city form) can imagine, reason and act with far greater effectiveness and vitality than it does currently. Kyopol will thus help to transform our cities into “smart cities”, or rather into “symbiotic cities”.

Symbiotic Cities

A symbiotic city is a city that is able to make the best of the resources and knowledge that are available to each of its components (citizens, business, government, media, etc.), allowing each of them to benefit from the collaboration. If we visualize a city as a “living organism”, which ones are these components and how would they interact?

  • CITIZENS have a lot of creativity, local knowledge and analytical capacity, and would thus be  the BRAIN and the SENSES.
  • POLITICAL and ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS provide the basis on which  social and collective action is articulated, and would be the SKELETON.
  • CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, finally, channel the creative energy from citizens, transforming it into action and, eventually, influence public policies: they are the MUSCLES.

Any of these three elements, acting alone, is unable to face any challenges or take advantage of the opportunities that arise. Try to imagine what happens to the brain, or the muscles, or the skeleton if they work in isolation, disconnected from the rest. A disaster, right?

KYOPOL

That’s why we are going to create the KYOPOL system, to help energize and reinforce civic reflection and civic action, inter-connecting all the cities’ vital forces. At the same time, KYOPOL helps keeping record of all civic initiatives developed in the city over time and allowing to learn from them. The objective is thus to use the Internet to promote, from below, new forms of democracy in which the citizen is the protagonist.

More specifically, what KYOPOL will initially allow is:

  • For people, groups and organizations that are willing to promote a civic initiative, Kyopol makes it easier to inform about it to all potentially interested fellow citizens and organizations.
  • Conversely: by means of a system of smart “alerts”, Kyopol allows citizens and organizations to stay informed about the initiatives that deal with the topics and places that matter most to them.
  • Kyopol promotes the development of “high-quality” civic initiatives, by providing tools, methodologies and teaching resources that promote a transparent, informed, non-confrontational, balanced and documented participation.
  • Kyopol supports and facilitates public engagement in populations of any size, increasing the effect and incidence of civic collaboration. It supports both online and offline initiatives, and is available both for “citizens driven initiatives” (bottom-up) as for initiatives promoted by government and public agencies (top-down).

Kyopol works, in short, as a decentralized and transparent “Network of civic engagement” (like facebook, but with a virtuous soul 😉 ), which would be regularly used by citizens and all kind of institutions to inform (and/or inform themselves) about the civic initiatives taking place in the neighborhoods they care for, and deal with subjects that matter to them.

How are we going to create KYOPOL?

In the next post we will explain it with more detail.    (available HERE)

By now, we will say that we plan to do it in the coming months, by means of a open and collaborative process where the main role will be played by the system’s future users: the citizens, social movements, civil society organizations, the media, government and political institutions, etc.

If you are interested in contributing, check out the website of the Asociación Ciudades Kyosei and contact us.


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