Friday, April 7, 2017



Version 1.0

Helsinki 4.-7.4.2017
The Chamber at Kone Foundation

Written by
Pedro Aibéo
José Jácome
Gweal Monykuany
Timo Tuhkanen

Supported by


This is a white paper aims to ignite a discussion about Direct Democracy and how it could be implemented in Helsinki in the immediate future. This document presents and proposes a set of experiments and an analysis of existing software tools and municipal structure.

Our goal is to increase citizen participation and have a more equally distributed decision making process. We believe that a higher level of inclusiveness and participation is both relevant and required in order to recalibrate and realign the political spheres with the everyday needs of individuals. We want to set up experiments in Helsinki, in the near future that would serve as testing grounds and can later be expanded and adapted in Finland. Keeping in mind that any change should be a step towards a more democratic process and not just another bureaucratic step for the sake of buzzwords.

There is no single perfect solution, we agree that a pure 100% Direct Democracy in real time is far from ideal and not a sustainable long term solution, yet we believe that it is vital to conduct and learn from direct democracy experiments that would be conducted inside the current bureaucratic system. This is a work in progress and we are open to constructive criticism and contributions. At the very least, this document serves to push the discussion forward and help bring to life a better version of the current processes where participation is always possible, optional and designed into the system.

This Document is the outcome of the Direct Democracy Helsinki Hackathon 2017, held from 4th till 7th April 2017, with the support of the Kone Foundation.

Fig. 1 Black board discussion sketches of the Hackathon


  1. The ‘Wedge’ Approach

Creating a ‘ghost city council’ as a direct democracy platform that would exist alongside the current City Council. Decisions would be approved by counting the votes of the 85 current council members as well as a proportional amount of votes from the number of citizens engaged in the direct democracy platform of the ‘ghost city council’. Citizens would then be one vote for the council every four years to select the city council, and vote through the ghost council platform on every issue separately.
Example: Take the total number voters from the previous (local) election, let’s say for example 250.000, and set that as 100%. If at any time 250.000 people were to engage in the online platform to vote on a issue, the city council decision would take into account 85 votes from the 85 city council elected representatives, PLUS 85 votes from the popular direct democracy platform, thus a total of 170 votes would be counted. If in the next session only 125.000 people engage in the platform, 43 votes would be added to the 85 council member votes. If 500.000 people engage on another issue, then the popular vote would amount to 170 that would be added to the 85 council members for a grand total of 255 counted votes. The metric would be adjusted, if for example there are 350.000 votes in the next city council election cycle, the platform would assign that as the target number of votes to achieve 100% (85 votes) in the ghost council.
  1. The ‘Fluid Democracy’ Approach

The city council gets elected normally but unlike in the traditional model, each council member is given different voting power based on the number of citizens who voted for them in the last election cycle. With the ‘Fluid Democracy’ model, citizens can change which council member they want to represent them, challenging and evaluating the performance of their elected politicians. Voting can be direct, continuous and fluid, if citizens are engaged, or it can become more representative if citizens are less engaged. Voting is not constrained to supporting candidates, active citizens can vote directly, as individuals, on the issues they care.

Example: Politician A got 1000 votes. Their voting power is higher than politician B who got 500. If politician A makes an unpopular choice, their supporters can delegate their vote to other politicians, thus A loses voting power to B. Citizens can always take action and vote directly on any decision, they can stay with their default representative or change who is their default representative at any time. Every 4 year election cycle news representatives are selected and new defaults are set according to the regular voting process.

  1. ‘Randomly’ selected Neighborhood Representatives

The idea of Neighborhood Representatives is based on the idea of Sortition, used in ancient Athens. Somewhere in between civil service and the  “Jury Duty” system, citizens would be randomly selected and assigned to take office for fixed period of time to act as City Council members. In the beginning they could work as decision makers, alongside the elected council members. In the long term, Neighborhood Representatives would effectively replace the city council.

In practice: The city council would be formed from the 177 neighborhoods of Helsinki. In each neighborhood, a random selection would be made from the voters who live there. This random selection would be made for example every 6 months or 1 year, etc. This person would then act as the voice of their neighborhood. This would mean neighborhoods would organise local discussion areas where issues and subjects and proposals could be drafted, discussed and communicated through the selected council member to the bureaucratic apparatus.

Example: Heikki is a 43-year old plumber from Rastila. He is selected as a Neighborhood Representative for 6 months. Previously there were no representatives from his neighborhood. Heikki knows his closest neighbors, but through being selected for the council, he had to start listening and fully using his network and the networks of people he met everyday in the shop, the swimming hall etc. Now he understands  that his neighbours were concerned with that the metro station was very dull and not an area where the residents want to spend time even waiting for the train. He raised the issue in the city council. People from other neighborhoods with a metro station agreed and they made a proposal together to start inviting small businesses, like cafes and art galleries to the facilities of the stations. Frank works in the substitute municipal budgetary office building, next year I’ll be back in my office in Kasarmintory he thought. He looked at another proposal. He drives back to his home in Ullanlinna. His mind was buzzing, the last paper had an idea. The proposal went through and a project called “Mukavampi Metro” started during the next year. The project received 150 000 € for cultural production and  150 000 to subsidize through artistic ownership the rents of the businesses invited to participate in the project. What Heikki had proposed was a system by which artists were given ownership of the spaces in Rastila metro station as well as license to set up temporary huts on the platform given that they were latched to the floor, as well as funding for running costs. The artists then invited businesses through an open call. As incentive the business's income is subsidized by the 150 000 grant channeled from the city. Rents are reasonable and the businesses are thriving because of the artistic ownership. Heikki remained a plumber but started using the metro to go to work instead of his car because his metro station was so pleasant now. Even Frank started to feel jealous because he knew that the infrastructure to go through the sandy mush underneath Vironniemi and the rest of Ullanlinna were several security risks away and tunneling a metro was too far to ever happen.
  1. The ‘Bottom-Up’ Approach

This is an initial step towards optimizing a currently existing participatory system. It would build upon the existing ‘citizen outreach’ programs, but would embed a voting or popular validation system that would allow for more participation and the ability to follow up planning processes. Voters already get to contribute their ideas to designers, city planners, city council by engaging with them actively through the existing channels. The bottom up approach proposes that this engagement is extended within the bureaucratic system so that each decision making entity and person involved in the realisation of the plan, from the designer to the mayor, and everyone in between would be notified about each suggestion and then anyone could start a direct open discussion, make comments, and communicate about the proposed subject to everyone about the subject. We feel that this direct engagement with the whole chain of command of the bureaucratic system would be engaging and would be something that voters would come back to again and again. Voters would then find ways of directly influencing lower level decisions and decisions the council would normally not decide on
  1. The Intersectional and ‘Complex Democracy’ Approach

Considering the many issues that need be solved in order to implement direct democracy from citizens to the making of decision on single subjects the council normally decides on, the intersectional/complex approach suggest that the democratic apparatus and direct democratic system would be implemented between, inside, into and out of the bureaucratic system rather than between voters and council members. Whereas the ‘bottom up’ approach drew a line between the voter and the mayor that would intersect everyone in the chain related to the subject, the complex would create a network throughout the bureaucratic system that would extend that line into every direction. Again, not only would voters would then find ways of directly influencing lower level decisions and decisions the council would normally not decide on but they could even become involved in the bureaucratic system itself by interacting through the democratic network. The direct application would apply between the existing structures and in departments and would upend and totally change the way the system would function. The complexity would also influence the effectiveness of the system. Something which the author of this idea feels would be important to decrease.
  1. The ‘Information Dispensers’ Approach

One of the main problems with democratic software solutions is that information is not accessible. Not everyone has smart devices and thus a purely technological solution is not ideal in terms of access. One way to solve this is to use existing infrastructure to create points of access to information. Helsinki city has recently put up new parking meters that seem to function at a level where they are connected to a general network to allow for banking and credit card use. These machines could have another function, namely to function as information points on the streets. The user would digit a code into the machine and instead of displaying a parking meter it would show a menu through which information about local (or nonlocal) projects and decisions could be accessed.

    1. Continuing the idea of using existing infrastructure it could be possible to adapt landlines so that each house and apartment would get its own voting receiver.

  1. The Standalone Device Approach

Online security is a major concern for electronic direct democracy. One solution would be to create a device only for voting, it could be modelled on smart devices, have applications and ways of accessing and relaying information in many directions, but would be solely dedicated to citizen politics. Or it could act only as a device for making decisions where the electronic components would be left to a minimum and the type of electronic signature it would give could be monitored. It would have its own network system, i.e. cables, frequencies and information type and encoding, and therefore it would need to have infrastructure made around it, this would increase security of the system. This device would be automatically given to everyone who is allowed to vote.

  1. Mechanisms for inclusion, accountability and verification

    1. Gender Parity: Gender parity could be enforced by design. If 5.000 women and 8.000 men vote, a voting algorithm could translate the voting intention of the 8.000 men and recalculate it on a scale of 5.000 to be counted side by side with 5.000 women, resulting in equality of voting power between both.

    1. Voting Receipts: Upon voting in any official state or local elections citizens would get a receipt they could later use to verify their vote was included and correctly accounted for. This can add trust and a system of accountability and can work both with anonymous or identified voter processes.

    1. Non-anonymous voting: By get rid of anonymity we could remove the issues of doubts that can be cast upon current democratic process. It would make much less likely for vote tampering to take place (where voting paper, cast for one candidate or party, could be replaced by different ones), also less likely for “ballot stuffing” to occur (where voting papers, that belong to no one, are “stuffed” into the boxes and added to the count).

    1. No or lower age limit: Effectively everyone of every age is entitled to vote. Should a very young child (or baby) be unable to express their intention to participate in a democratic process then a parent (or legal guardian) would act on behalf of the child. Effectively parents are already making decisions and life choices for both themselves and their kids and we believe this should be reflected in the democratic process.


  1. An important question is how to stop decisions from being deferred to the next government or council by the current council. This is often done when an election is close so that difficult decisions will not affect the election and it has a negative impact on the way the city works and on the trust towards the council. Direct democracy would override this deferring action and would improve this specific situation considerably.


A software based solution is ideal since it requires very little resources and it’s an easy to implement. Yet there are many issues that any software based solution would need to solve. The next list sets out to be suggestive rather than exhaustive: security, anonymity, information and communication or what exactly is being communicated from inside the system to the voters, how those questions should be framed and if yes/no answers are enough, how to deal with mass discourse (if not online where?), how to get people to engage and stay engaged in the discussion and voting, how to enforce decisions, who exactly would then implement decisions and in what time frame, etc.

What solutions are already out there? How do they work and how accessible are they? What's good about and what's bad about them?


> Diverse functions: polls, spatial brainstorming (city planning?), text review, brainstorming, agenda setting.
> Possible to follow projects that are interesting to you
> Is being tested by both public administration and NGOs
> Can be embedded in websites of users
> Only negative/positive opinions allowed for initiatives (no abstain)
> Not so democratic (not everyone can make initiatives):
“There are three different user roles on OPIN: Initiators, moderators and users. The initiators register their organisation on OPIN and can set up projects. Users can be assigned as moderators by the initiators to help with the guidance and monitoring of the projects. The users can participate in the different projects by adding and rating ideas and comments to express their opinion and enhance the decision-making process!”


Liquid democracy voting model Direct democracy is a model where every citizen gets to vote on every issue that is being decided on in political institutions.  The main weakness of Direct democracy is that everyone is not knowledgeable enough to vote on every issue. Liquid democracy combines direct democracy with representative democracy. Everyone has the opportunity to vote, but an individual can delegate his/her vote for an issue to a trusted person, and can at any time take back the vote.

In liquid democracy, it’s possible to delegate proxy votes to others in matters regarding areas you are not an expert in yourself.

“The power to take back your vote creates accountability beyond elections, forcing politicians to fulfill promises even after entering office. Liquid delegates must respect their voters wishes because their political power can be taken back any time.”

Liquid Democracy is between representative and direct democracy” (Nils Altland 2017)


Adhocracy is a modular decision making tool that helps participants to collect ideas, discuss them and refine them in text propositions that can be further amended, developed by the Liquid  Democracy Association.

> Can be embedded in users websites
> Open source and customizable
> Bottom up moderation (moderated by users)
> Non profit, not affiliated with government or corporations
> Large scale
> Long term decision process
> Delegate vote

> Anonymity: people can give false info
> Who moderates against trolls etc.?
> Not easy to use

Adhocracy Multipurpose participation portal for the state of Berlin
Participatory budgeting projects
Zoning initiatives
Environmental initiatives
Allocation of funds to neighborhood

Users could make amendments to draft of final text regarding the use of the Tempelhof park

A problem with Liquid Democracy

“It seems to me that a weakness of this idea is the voter, once he gives his vote to any other person, has no subsequent control of how his vote is 'passed around'. In other words, you give your support to a 'pacifist' and, by a series of subsequent allocations it could very well end up in the control (albeit temporary) of a 'warmonger'. What is ideally required is that each time a 'representative' chose to pass all the votes in his control to another representative that he first 'ask' the permission of each and every person whose vote he is currently holding. At the very least, the ordinary voter should receive a notification that his vote had been reallocated, giving the new recipient's name and contact info. and therefore permitted to review the new allocation immediately. I suspect the latter is possible.”

Youtube comment by the user Paul Miller on video about Liquid Democracy
This comment further gives way to the thought that managing transparency is important for Liquid Democracy to work.  Anonymity might enhance a more open and unbiased discussion, but when it comes to voting and delegating vote, a system must take into account identifying the people who are voting and delegating.


Access to platform only available to party members who must be Italian citizens.


Loomio is a  platform for collaboration that aims to “break down the barriers to participation in decision-making at every level: in neighbourhoods, community organisations, businesses, social movements, and local and national governance.” It started from the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It’s a social enterprise which is owned by the people building it.
Example of a vote in Loomio
“It’s not much more than a pie graph with four buttons, but its simplicity (and privacy) is getting it positive attention from a broad cross section of people across the globe—from remote villages in India, community hospitals in Vietnam, to government departments and early childhood education centers.” (6.4.2017)

> Easy to use, low learning curve
> Free and open source
> Easy to install and uninstall
> Can become information overload
information manipulated, via comments and via the voting which is ongoing


> Tazebao is an app that allows users to communicate anonymously within a certain region or area based on their location.
> Messages are shown in order of distance. There is no registration or profiles.
> Not designed for direct democracy. Does not define clearly how accurate, or to what scale does the distance of someone affect the message order which would influence anonymity in close quarters.

What is interesting about it?
Can be co-opted into the direct democratic decision making process. Tazebao thus seems like a great tool to use in anonymized communication and games. For example, it could be used within a meeting as an addition, a digital layer to the ongoing conversation where a different anonymous conversations and voting can happen of questions presented verbally. For example, in a controlled study Tazebao could be used as a tool to look at the way people talk and suggest things differently between irl and url, and the process can be reversed.


Helsinki borough statistics “urban facts” in Finnish:

Public Experiment: pointless platform as a barometer
How much transparency:
Topic for the white paper:
City: localized neighborhoods specialized in something for


The Helsinki City Municipal decision making structure is organised in several layers and it is dynamic, meaning that it is not linear, but it goes through several cycles to reach the municipal council. The municipal council does not make every decision concerning the city, but bureaucracies under the supervision of the Mayor prepare and make smaller decisions independently and possibly without consulting the council at all.

To get to the point of making a decision a proposal first needs to enter the system. Once the system recognizes this proposal it assigns the development of the solution to a specific person called ‘designer’. The designer makes an outline of the solution and then consults all the parties that the decision would impact. These parties are the city and its bureaucratic offices and experts, but also energy, safety, private landowners,  companies, as well as private citizens. Once all these parties have been consulted and been given the time to respond, the designer forms a first draft of the proposal. This proposal is then taken to the responsible bureaucratic board, which can be an office or the municipal council who confirm or deny the proposed solution. Once the decision is confirmed it comes into effect and the municipal bureaucracy who is responsible for the implementation starts to work to make whatever was decided a reality.

Council work-plan and work order:

In english without the visualisation or full details:

This means that a process to make a decision can be made in several ways, it begins at a low level where a designer is initiated to look into making a proposal.

The city council consists of 85 members and is elected by voters every 4 years. The council select the city board which consists of 15 people including the mayor and four deputy mayors who are all responsible for a specific branch of the city. The board can exert power over lesser decisions without consulting the council, and specific offices can exert power over lesser decisions under their jurisdiction. The Council board is responsible for preparing and overseeing decisions made that are presented to the council, and for  overseeing that the decisions are implemented legally and following up that the decisions are implemented.

The board also decides the working boards (toimikunnat, neuvottelukunnat). We counted 73 smaller boards in total that work the same way, they prepare proposals in their specific field, and are able to make decisions that of a lesser importance. Or maybe the decisions they make are such that they then go to the council to be confirmed. We could not confirm how many designers the city has.

Where is direct democracy already in Helsinki?
A form of direct democracy exists at the very start of the city planning process, the city asks its citizens their opinion about the solution they have assigned to a designer to draft and the designers takes into consideration the thoughts and opinions of the citizens as best they can.

Example of the initial communication between the city and citizens:

Understanding the timeline of a solution and the power of the council
It is important to understand that decisions on a municipal level often take years to go from initial proposal to the final implementation to be ready. It is possible that decisions which come to the city council for their final decision have begun their road already more than ten years ago. Where then can direct democracy be implemented in this timeline when the decision that the city council makes is the last one in a very long process? The timeline below shows how the start and sketching period can take four years before it enters the bureaucratic system.

The above image is taken from the ‘initial communication’ link further above, it states how 1 200 people participated in 12 participatory meetings and think tanks. Over the same period there was 80 blog posts online with 14 000 readers and 330 comments. 1 500 people receive a newsletter about the planning. 4 workshops were organised with 250 participants who came up with 27 concrete proposals. Youth were also engaged in the planning, from 7 schools 167 students participated of which 33 participated the 4 workshops. More specific questionnaires were outsourced to private company Mapita Oy who made a large study about city planning.

What is wrong with this model?
Questions that arose: Who has read the above document? Where is the follow up of the feedback from the rest of the process?

The main issue is that participation, and therefore the feeling of agency and being involved in decision making process ends at the first stage of the design process unless actively pursued. Individuals have the right to ask for a meeting with the designer at any moment and they must accommodate this request.

A second major issue is the real influence an individual can have on the decision making process. A company, organisation, club, or other private group, not to mention bureaucratic organisation has much more power over the final decision.

Another problem is communication between the city and the citizens. Once the first stage of the design process is over the public is no longer consulted but the solution is taken to its conclusion, the final product without consulting the public. Even when the public is consulted there is little which then comes back from the city and what does come back is hard to find.


OpenAhjo ( ) is an API for accessing the decision-making material of the City of Helsinki, part of the Helsinki Developers initiative, ( )  


Most generally direct democracy is seen to be between citizens and the parliament or council that makes decisions. In the case of Helsinki, as the previous description of the decision making process and the city structure reveals, there are many places outside of the city council where decisions are made.

The question here is where exactly can direct democracy be inserted for it to have the most impact and be most effective in the decision making process and generate most interest and agency. A pure answer would be that every single decision that is made by the city that impacts its citizens should be voted on. This system would need the city to change so that each decision on every level it makes in every department would be open and available to review and form opinions on, and then citizens should be given the possibility to vote about that decision.


We are not claiming, at least not right now, that every citizen needs to or should be a full time politician or expert decision maker. Something which could be achieved with adequate education by reshaping education as an income rather than expense. In fact, much like as it happens in the current process, there are civil servants, city officials and experts who make plans and submit much like private enterprize proposals that then go through the city council process for approval. This should be the case. What we are saying is that we can have a direct participation and more inclusive process where citizens have the option to voice their opinion as each proposal goes through the approval process. The current system instead blindly and completely delegates all possible decisions made during an entire election cycle that were not specifically debated in the electoral campaign or are not public enough, simple enough, or that require ethical boards. Meaning that the focus on current participatory activity from the direction of the city is focused on city construction and city planning, day care and youth activities, of which participation in the cities feedback cycles is a partly recognized as a single feature. Yet they do not extend to the other municipal jurisdictions in a public and open way. We could not find available documentation that featured an ‘initial communication’
This, we believe, is extremely important particularly when considering some development proposals (for example build a new hospital, or closing an existing school) can have long term and generational impact.

We see Direct Democracy as an added possibility to the existing structure. The increase of complexity is the historical pattern of our societies and of evolution. There is no escape from that. The role of media, for checks and balances and as a sort of public feedback to policies is not working.

This is an open document, accepting suggestions and critics. This document is as policies also could be done, shared and open, revealing the process, not solely the outcome.


José Jácome
I am a storyteller and a participation expert, a design strategist and a cultural architect. I believe more participation is needed in all aspects of public life and city culture, that the well being of society requires shared rituals and a cultural infrastructure which can provide it’s people with a sense of belonging, cooperative and cocreative activities that weave people into communities. I have created InsideJob.Agency to organize playful activities in Helsinki, alibis for interaction that serve the purpose of nurturing a culture of participation and engagement.

Timo Tuhkanen
I am queer and I like to do things, like to organize, and research music at the University of Leeds. I make books with Pteron Press and Ever Books . I write a blog acutethics. I organise A listening Room which promotes listening culture, and I curate 13lock.

is a trained Design Architect (M.Sc., Dipl. Ing., TU Darmstadt, Germany) and Civil Engineer (M.Sc., Licenciatura, FEUP, Porto) with over 50 buildings designed and built on 15 countries currently practicing at "AIBEO architecture". He is also a Visiting Associate Professor at UNAM University, Mexico and at Wuhan University of Technology, China, and a Lecturer, Research Assistant and Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University, Finland on "Architectural Democracy". He has also regularly lectured about Architecture at the Universities of QUT Brisbane, TU Darmstadt and FAUP Portugal.

Gweal Monykuany

I’m a multicultural finn who feels at home in three languages: Swedish, Finnish and English. I study political science in the University of Helsinki and I’m interested in social politics and participation through multiple channels.  I’m running for city council for the Pirate Party and I write a blog at gwealglobalcitizen. My mind is always working on improving quality of life for the people around me. I’m not afraid to throw myself into new challenges and this has resulted in experience of working in a startup, volunteering abroad, organisation presidency and starting a band during the last years besides finishing my bachelor's studies.


For example:

City planning page with detailed description:

In english without the visualisation or details:

Idea for how to get closer to local residents:
>It seems that one of the issues is how not just how to get people to participate but where to participate and how to get information about these things, could parking meters be modified in a way, or hacked in a way as to allow for other use, it seems the new parking meters (where you need to use a credit card (also could be used to identify someone)) use more sophisticated software that could allow for parallel processing, and thus a data terminal (pääte) from where to access information about important matters relating to that specific area and neighbourhood.
> Opportunistic network that would work through gps and proximity and would send a package of information to someone's personal device.
>> These two above could be combined maybe.
The above image (from Joonas Lyytinen (Greens)) shows the new organisations structure of Helsinki city from June 2017 onwards. The first major question about the image is that culture and freetime is not connected to anything? Thinking of the above, where is the cut off point between each decision making process. When does someone exceed their authority, and where is the limit where a decision is too small to make.

Helsinki Municipal council website:

City board website:

City board beta:

From the beta: ‘‘The city board decides on matters that are not assigned to other bureaucrats. The board administers the council and is responsible for putting into effect decisions and overseeing that these decisions are legally valid. The board is responsible for speaking for the city in court and makes proposals as it sees fit. For example, the board decides less important city planning proposals (asemakaava), reserving land and water areas for construction and specific things related to businesses in the city (liikelaitosten). The board decides the action and negotiating boards (toimikunnat & neuvottelukunnat) which prepare proposals or are assigned a specific duty.”

Why are parts missing from the beta site, for example:

(Kaupunginhallitus 4/2017
  1. 1
  2. Kokouksen laillisuuden ja päätösvaltaisuuden toteaminen sekä pöytäkirjan tarkastajien valinta
  3. 2
  4. Tämän kokouksen päätösten täytäntöönpano

Both of these are missing from the site, as are:

  1. Kaupungin viranomaisten päätösten seuraaminen
  2. 19
  3. Kaupungin viranomaisten päätösten seuraaminen


Kaupunginvaltuuston 11.11.2015 tekemien päätösten täytäntöönpano

Boards etc:

Municipal council discussion minutes:
Can one mine the meeting minutes of

How fast from meeting minutes to public information
How fast translation
Can we mine it so that it becomes easier in terms of statistics, but to translate just the bulk
Data Mining, statistic, (what can we gain) and bulk information into different languages

Who dominate and take initiative, and who is there only for the money, what have the individual council members accomplished?

SUGGESTION: The city needs to hire two full-time translators. One who would directly translate all the conversations of the city council meeting simultaneously as they happen and a second who would type the conversations out into documents that would be included on the website like the Finnish language ones.

City Municipal meetings on video:

City planning department website timeline of decisions:

Open data of council meetings:

3 out of 8 documents are classified

Statistics and budget
The statistical yearbook of Helsinki 2016

Visualisation of budget income and outcome (state)

Statistics of party membership:

City planning

Making the shore a new Monaco. The distribution of resources between poor and rich parts of the city.

Asemakaavan suunnitteluratkaisujen tekemisestä vastaavat

1) Kaavan valmistelijan 2) Liikennesuunnittelun 3) Yhdyskuntatekniikan 4) Talouden 5) Maisemasuunnittelun 6) Rakennussuojelun

Tärkeimmät kaupunkisuunnitteluviraston ulkopuoliset yhteistyökumppanit ovat

7) hallintokeskus 8) kiinteistövirasto 9) rakennusvirasto 10) rakennusvalvontavirasto 11) liikuntavirasto 12) kaupunginmuseo 13) Museovirasto 14) ympäristökeskus 15) Uudenmaan elinkeino-, liikenne- ja ympäristökeskus 16) Helsingin Energia 17) Helsingin seudun ympäristöpalvelut 18) pelastuslaitos 19) Liikennevirasto 20) rakennuttajat 21)maanomistajat 22) asukkaat.

Melanie Manohar EIT Digital

UX designer, online participatory space platforms

Two projects Absotist, citizen budgeting platform, city puts out a budget and citizens decide how to use it

peers at , how to improve city's infra and anything about the city

> for whom you are designing

Participants, / project initiators, citizens, employees, / companies, countries cities

> Why do citizens want to participate, what motivates them

Intrinsic motivation, participating in the greater good of humanity, tap into these interests to ensure parting

Incentives, that translate into physical things, like tickets for concerts or whatever

> how much time and effort do they want to put in

Everything takes time and effort and we need to understand how much there is

> what could discourage someone from participating

Demotivating is not knowing what happens at the end, many projects conclude and nothing happens after
Expectations, what are results and how will they be used

> how much decision making process of authorities want to involve involve citizens in

Their perspective, how much do they want to give, how much of contral are they willing to let go.

> are they willing to incorporate feedback from citizens into their decisions

They should have a clear roadmap

> roadmap

Should be clear

> what are we deciding

Different levels of participating, could be just informing that something is decided and see if they are for or against that decision

Problem solving, asking the citizens, then you have a delegation process
And this should feed to the questions starting from the start of this talk

> GOALS for projects

Problem solving, involving citizens to solve specific problems

Raise awareness, want them to know and get their thoughts on the issue

Legitimize a decision, they already make one and then ask for opinions,

> how are we going to design it

Participation process

Project information > idea collection > deliberation > proposal creation > voting > results and implementation

This is high level with a goal of problem solving


Proposal > voting > results


Collect ideas and then publish results

> Motivating, customizing depending on project

> Design opportunities

> acquiring participants : marketing, active updates, good design

Platform is ready but don't know how to get people to use it, finding users is always a challenge.

> easily consumable content : videos, images, animations, simple language (automated video making software, which can translate texts easily etc etc)

> integrating offline components : effective deliberation, no technology infrastructure

deliberation , and its quality is always better on offline, because face to face is easier and better. Also useful for access and for people don't have technology

> idea collation phase after collecting : machine learning, manual intervention

There must be a common interface, you fill it with ideas but you need to get ideas from these, group these ideas

Designing manually,
> setting clear expectations : publishing results, updates on implementation

Its online people will come checking for the updates, use social media or broadcast to update the participants and public in general
If you don't see the results you won't come back, and you need to think about that

> whom
Define the needs of the users

> what
Define goals of the project

Design the participation process

Three main things you need to think about

Pedro Q:

Platforms are very diverse, for example liquid democracy, but it seems to be nowhere and too back end users, and others are almost there but don't have good budget, or are open source, so it seems that these participatory tools rely a lot on the budget to make the tools or software


Decision making process doesn’t work so well online.

Hei kaikki!

Koska mielipidemittaukset osoittavat että äänestäjät voivat olla epävarmoja, loimme tällaisen kyselyn jonka toivomme luovan äänestys innostuneisuutta näihin viimeisiin hetkiin.

Kyselyssa kysytään miten äänestäisit jos voisit äänestää Helsingin kunnallisvaaleissa oman alueesi lisäksi.

Ajattelimme että se voisi olla jotain kivaa tehtävää, se on nopea ja helppo, mutta samalla se voisi toimia ensiaskeleen äänestämiselle myös yleisesti koska se on kuin vapaa kenttä ja äänestämisen ja ajattelun vaikutus ei ole ns omalla kentällä.

Olemme alustaneet viestiä twitterinssä mm. näin:

“Minkälainen Helsinki syntyisi jos kaikki muut kuin Helsinkikäiset äänestäisivät kunnallisvaaleissa? Nimetön kysely: [lyhyt linkki]”


Toivoisin että voisitte jakaa sitä mahdollisimman monelle!


The global vote
The good country
What's gone wrong with the world and how can we fix it?

30years as government advisor… of about 54 different countries, mainly advising on how they could engage in their countries more productively and more effectively with the international community

I realised I have become part of the problem…
I was advising these countries on how to screw each other more effectively… because I was talking about competitiveness

Endless stories about the planet melting and people killing each other…
Actually competition… was exactly the problem….
Climate change, poverty and inequality and warfare… global challenges are getting worse

We are not making much progress because we were not working together as nations
UN and others do their best to tackle these issues…but countries were only cooperating very reluctantly

Countries were fixated with competition…

Basically we are facing 21st global challenges but countries are still in 17th century mentality…
The good country is my solution to that …
There’s a really hardcore of people around the world 10%, who absolutely agree on this point, governments should much rather collaborate than compete…
If they all spoke to their governments maybe they could persuade our rules to collaborate…
TED Talk 2014… launch of a survey, the good country index…
A huge compilation of data (from international organizations) mashing that data together to create a balanced sheet…
How much is this country doing for the rest of the world, and how much do they take away from others? Are these a net contributors or are they free riders?

+4.000.000 views… it suggests found this message quite interesting…
People started reaching out to Simon… how can I make my country a good country?

Global vote allows anyone anywhere in the world to vote in the elections of any other country…
There’s usually an election going on at some part of the world every 2 or 3 weeks …

The way it works is you can click on a election > you see all the elections on offer and past elections… you can see the profiles from each candidate… factual, neutral, objective … writing about Donald Trump was a complete challenge…

We don’t ask people to vote on domestic countries… that’s none of our business , the only thing we are interested in, is what that new lieder will do for the rest of the world.

Every policy candidates take have the potential to do good or bad around the world…
Write to each candidate and ask 2 things
1# if you become elected president what will you do for the rest of us?
2# what is your vision of what your country can do towards the rest of the world?

If we want to get a lot of people voting on this? (aiming at having more external people voting on a given election that you have internally) we want to officially stick our nose in other countries business… we obviously can't affect what takes place, but we want to have our voices heard and remind them, don’t forget about the rest of us… around the world.

Why we don't get millions… annual marketing budget of 1eur28c
Self funded… meaning unfunded

The user interface is not great… it's not exciting…
If would be as exciting as candy crush or angry birds we would get millions and millions of votes and people would get interested ….
How do we make it sticky and compelling?

Gamification … games for good. Have a game…

QUESTION > How do we stop if from falling in the wrong hands… stopping!?
>> it’s just me (and two other guys) and no funding at the time.

QUESTION > Pointing out how in fact local candidates are over their heads on certain topics… narrative dissonance... Fix the economy, deal with climate change…
>>It’s not that local politics are disconnected… but we don't want the backlash from having potential interference in “our precious democracy”... people are very sensitive.
>> I give global voters credit to see through that ineptitude of people locally fixing global problems...

Global government as teaching tool…

Carl Sagan > Who speaks for Earth? > Who on Earth is trying to solve “our” problems…

>>> NOT proposing the global vote as real tool for democracy … it’s more of a tool towards raising “a good point(s)”... it’s not about global government or being governed by cities. I’m interested in nudging the culture, change the way that existing country systems behave… I am NOT in favor of one World Government. Town councils and villages are the best examples…. Large countries with large populations and large government give out the worse examples. NOT changing the system but change the culture.

<< GAMES Towards democracy… get people to simulate participation in elections and to actively act upon “petitions”

Continuation from SIMON, what if we made a case study experiment out of helsinki for the rest of finland to vote for. Could we achieve that before the election results.
Mistä olet kotoisin

Where are you from (region rather than city because there are too many cities and people can’t spell)

Ketä äänestäisit?

Who would you vote for?

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