ICT Facilitation of Citizen Participation, Open Government, and Public Service Delivery in Madrid

ICT Facilitation of Citizen Participation, Open Government, and Public Service Delivery in Madrid


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Problems and Purpose

Since 2014, Madrid has experimented with new technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of public services, to increase the amount of public participation in governance, and to enable greater transparency in government operations.[1]


Spanish cities like Barcelona and Santander have been world leaders in the 'Smart City' movement. Madrid is perhaps unique for its dedication to a 'citizen-centric' model of information and communications technology (ICT) integration. Efforts by local governments to harness the power of the Internet and the growing number of personal connected devices has excellerated in the past decade. However, many efforts fail to be participatory in their design, either failing to get sufficient consent for the collection of data or keeping information on the use of data in city planning hidden from public knowledge.[2]   

Originating Entities and Funding

The effort to transition to the Smart City model has largely been funded and overseen by the City Council of Madrid. 15 million Euros were dedicated to the Madrid Intelligent platform (MiNT) which manages the various kinds of ICT being deployed across the city.[1] The City has partnered with various technology firms like IBM to design and deploy some of the technologies. By making all of the collected data open, third-party organizations and companies like Google have also helped advance Madrid's technology-driven public service management.[3] Other organizations like MediaLab Prado have been created and/or funded by the Council to research and make use of new or existing ICT. 

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Technologies that improve the quality and efficient of public services often use sensors and cameras to collect data. 'Participants' are every day citizens who, by virtue of living in the city, give up the right to have their actions - such as driving and public service usage - tracked and recorded. 

Technologies that enable citizens to weigh in on government decisions are often open to all residents, requiring a postal and/or email address. 

ICT used in the service of open government is also open to all but participation is limited to the viewing of government documents.

Methods and Tools Used

Platforms like Decide.Madrid.es and MiNT encourage and facilitate the direct participation and collaboration of officials and citizens. Technologies such as sensors and cameras collect and measure everything from traffic congestion to the timing of street lamps.  

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

The City of Madrid categorizes its deployment of information systems into four groups: vertical, common, government, and citizen-centric. 

The first category, vertical information systems, includes those used for the management of various city services such as street lighting, traffic control, waste removal, street furniture, and public parks.

The second category, common systems, includes those that integrate or facilitate the collaboration and synchronous activity of different services and city resources. For example, systems that manage human and material resources, vehicles and transportation fleets, work plans, and geographic information.

Government systems are used primarily by the City Council to analyze and monitor contracts and companies providing municipal services. These systems measure the quality of the service, analyze information, and help manage the economic aspects of contracts and billing.

Finally, citizen-oriented systems facilitate public participation and knowledge of the city. Functions of these technologies include the collection, management and monitoring of incident reports and notices. New forms of participation have been developed by leveraging the connective power of mobile devices. For example, the Decide.Madrid.es platform has been used to collect submissions and feedback on budget proposals. 

In addition to these technologies, the City has developed organizations like MediaLab Prado to run programmes for the development and advancement of existing and new smart city technologies. 

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects


Analysis and Lessons Learned


Secondary Sources

[1] Madrid City Council, "Madrid Promotes its Smart City Model," Madrid.es News, Oct 13 2013, http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Actualidad/Noticias/M...

[2] Matthew Braga, "Welcome to the neighbourhood. Have you read the terms of service?," CBC News. Jan 16, 2018, http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/smart-cities-privacy-data-personal-inf...

[3] Christobal Bozdogan, "Smart City Feature: Madrid, Spain," Urbes, the Smart City Blog, Nov 2, 2016, https://medium.com/urbes/smart-city-feature-madrid-spain-25d24b63bee3

External Links








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