This case highlights the online platform Terzo Veneto, a project designed in the Veneto region of Italy in order to allow citizen engagement in democratic processes while offering civic education through games, a YouTube channel, and a citizen's dictionary.
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Problems and Purpose
The Terzo Veneto project is designed to offer citizens of the Veneto region an online platform or 'hub' connecting citizens to other regionally-hosted participatory websites and offering some engagement activities of its own. As such, it applies a wide range of Web 2.0 and ICT tools – such as online consultations, a video game, an election game, a YouTube channel, and a citizen’s dictionary – in order to inform, attract and engage citizens in the public decision-making process.
Background History and Context
The project is the continuation of a previous initiative called Ven.e-d (Veneto e-democracy) launched in 2005. In the Veneto Region, public hearings are mandatory if requested by at least one-fourth of the members of the committee responsible for the legislative proposal or by the provinces, municipalities, and of the presidents of the main social and economic organisations. There is thus a demand for efficient and cost-effective ways to engage the public in such consultations.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
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Participant Recruitment and Selection
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Methods and Tools Used
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Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction
A number of services are currently available on the platform:
- Coro - a virtual environment for the online consultations launched by the Regional Parliament on legislative and administrative matters;
- Civil Life – a dedicated forum to young people, hosting specific information and communication tools designed with suitable language and contents;
- The videogame Election Play, enabling citizens to make virtual experimentations of the real challenges met by electoral candidates: preparing a political agenda, choosing running mates, using the media, public confrontation, snares and tricks by political rivals.
- A dedicated channel on YouTube making available the audio-visual material of the regional Parliament to a broad Internet audience;
- The Citizens' Dictionary, a glossary of the less common terms which can be found in the Regional Parliament’s web pages;
- A Virtual Visit of the Regional Parliament’s premises;
- Demotopia, a Web 2.0 oriented discussion forum on eDemocracy and interactive communication between Governments and citizens.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
After five years of experimentation, the project has become an integral part of the Regional consultation and communication practices with both citizens and stakeholders.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Effort was made to address disadvantaged groups. Dedicated services were designed and implemented for young people and school children. Special attention was also given to those Internet users that are not familiar with administrative procedures or the “language of bureaucracy”.
Effort was also made to strengthen democratic capacities. By an integrated design and deployment of several distinct eServices, the project was specifically addressing user empowerment as well as the creation of new channels of communication and interaction between democratic institutions and citizens in support of the regional governance model.
Civil Life webpage [DEAD LINK]
Election Play webpage [REDIRECT]
Demotopia.net webpage [DEAD LINK]
The original version of this case study first appeared on Vitalizing Democracy in 2010 and was a contestant for the 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize. It was originally submitted by Francesco Molinari.