October 2, 2012 1 Comment
After all, election day marks the end of those blatant, flashy campaigns – as there’s only one political party that runs outdoor adverts without elections being near.
But that’s not really what I’m here for today. We obviously have no need for yet another “marketing article”, do we? So why am I writing then today? Why are these elections important? What are they about? And who’s getting my vote?
The City as the experimental playground for local, social and mobile democracy.
First things first. I vote in Kortrijk. A relatively small city in the far west of the country Belgium. This means I have to vote more than average. And it’s not even a right, it’s an obligation. To understand why I need to vote often, one must know the country’s structure. The structure of Belgium is not rarely bookmarked as the most complex and absurd in the world. It would take us to far however to explain that here. For those who’re interested, I previously posted an article that links to a video that explains Belgium in a fun and easy way.
For now, I believe it is sufficient for you to know that this time we’re voting for the lowest jurisdictional level there is. And that’s exactly why I believe it’s important. The city’s competences are the most tangible of all. It matters topics people feel daily in their day-to-day life. Since it’s about themes they’re actually dealing with, it’s more likely that they develop their own ideas, vision and opinion about it.
Having said this, one could think that today we are at the frontier to fully unroll the very concept of “democracy”.
Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. – Wikipedia, the most reliable peer-2-peer reviewed encyclopedia.
The world’s digital extensions allow us to easily implement the idea of ‘in which all eligible citizens have an equal say…’. Just think about a city that’s deeply engaged in social media listening and takes into account the elements it picks up there. To be clear, this social democracy is not just about social media. It means involvement of the citizens by the political representatives of which social media listening is only one of the means to do so. I also recommend having beers in local bars as a way to collaborate on the city plans and policies.
As the world moves forward more and more activities become place-independent. People have higher mobility thanks to mobile devices and ditto technologies. However, there’s ambiguity in here:
“The more mobile our activities become, the less mobility we have.”
Just think about the many minutes (or even hours) you’re stuck in traffic – hardly moving, hardly being mobile.
The city as a small democratic entity must be the playground for the above evolution. It could mean that they take the front-seat with regards to mobile networks, mobile infrastructure, mobile technological innovations and use them to solve all mobility issues like traffic jams.
I do realize my vision upon “mobile” might be a little confusing. It’s not about mobile devices. It’s just another evolutionary story. For more details, please slide through the below slideshare keynote.
How do you feel about the SoLoMo Democracy?