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UserCentriCities has named the three finalists in the 2023 award that recognises the achievements made in developing user-centric services for citizens.

Ghent, London and Rotterdam have been named the three finalists in the 2023 UserCentriCities Award.

The award aims to raise awareness and recognise the achievements made by European cities and regions in developing user-centric services for their citizens.

Digital public services

A panel of experts from international institutions, the public sector and academia evaluated 44 services from across Europe. The assessments were based on the user-centricity principles for the design and delivery of digital public services as outlined in the Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment.

UserCentriCities sets out why the three cities stood out:

  • Talk London:

    Initially created in 2012 and redesigned according to the user-centricity principles in 2021, Talk London is a civic engagement platform aimed to engage Londoners in City Hall policy and programme making. With a tagline of “Your city, your say! Let’s make London better together!”, the overall goal is to empower Londoners to have a meaningful impact on the decisions that affect their daily lives while actively contributing to transforming their city.

    Any Londoner can become a member of Talk London, which seeks to reach and engage a wide and diverse audience to guarantee all groups are represented in decision-making processes. Its guiding principles include: making it easier to get involved; making City Hall more accessible, demonstrating impact, making the design process more transparent, and rewarding users for getting involved and addressing the reasons for engagement.

    To help City Hall policy teams engage with Londoners, surveys, discussions and idea-generation activities are run regularly. The process provides background information and extra context to allow its members to get involved in an informed way.

  • Proactive Services in Ghent:

    The Belgian city of Ghent is transforming the way it provides its services to its citizens by offering its services more proactively, especially targeting citizens in vulnerable and underserved situations. Three use cases have been developed and implemented so far: reduction of school fees for low-income families; free garbage bags for citizens with lower incomes; and UiTPAS, a culture pass granting a reduction of fees on the city’s cultural activities. A fourth case targeting low-emission zones is still under development.

    Utilising available datasets to check if the citizen meets the specific criteria, the city offers these services proactively, eliminating the need for the citizen to provide its data, but automatically gathering it from federal databases checked against the Business Rule Engine set up by the Flemish administration. Ultimately, the citizen benefits from these services without having to apply for them.

    This has had a significant impact on the reduction of the city’s administrative burden, making space for a more efficient process, while reaching more beneficiaries by offering the services proactively.

  • Meld’R – Public Space Report, Rotterdam:

    The Meld’R app is a user-friendly, easy and intuitive app that allows Rotterdam citizens to report to city hall. Whether it’s about litter, accessibility barriers or pest control, Meld’R app streamlines the reporting process while allowing the city to resolve any issues efficiently and effectively.

    Co-designed with the input from 50 Rotterdam citizens and based on extensive research, Rotterdam discovered that reports about public space are essential to citizen’s perceived quality of life and should be addressed quickly and properly. The app design principles focus on providing social benefits to citizens by ensuring their reports are handled efficiently. It was co-created, built and launched during the Covid pandemic, making residents its ambassadors.

    The app has changed the way people report problems in the city. As of now, 70 per cent of all reports are made through app.

The three finalists will present their services during the award ceremony in the framework of the 2023 UserCentriCities Summit this 25 May in Brussels. Find out more about the finalists and cities’ services and best practice in the User-centric Services Repository.

UserCentriCities is a Horizon 2020 project that started in December 2020. Led by the Lisbon Council in partnership with Eurocities and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, it brings together 26 European municipalities and regions.


Quelle/Source: Smart Cities World, 15.05.2023

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