How are decisions taken on decidim.barcelona?, is the project that has received one of the awards for Democratic Quality 2017
(text taken from this UPF news)
Of which Vicenç Gómez Cerdà, a member of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning research group, is the principal investigator. It aims to develop computational and statistical methods to extract knowledge and model the data collected on the platform.
Since Barcelona City Council launched Decidim Barcelona in February 2016, the Authority’s platform for citizen participation, the participatory process initiated by the Council has sought to involve the public in a process where they had the opportunity to evaluate and discuss the proposals made by the government, as well as provide the chance of creating new ones.
Thus, just in the preparation of the Municipal Action Plan, the platform has received 10,860 proposals from which 1,467 actions have been included in the new municipal action plan. The actions were defined taking into account the contents of the proposals, the support they have received, the comments made, and the associated face-to-face appointments.
The project, led by Vicenç Gómez Cerdà, a Marie Curie researcher of the research group on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) at UPF, aims to develop computational and statistical methods to extract knowledge and model the volume of data collected on the platform during this first period. The project entitled “How are decisions taken on decidim.barcelona?” has won one of the awards for Democratic Quality 2017 given by Barcelona City Council, endowed with 13,000 euros.
Identifying and correcting the selective bias of the platform due to the digital gap
According to a recent report, one in every four people is a basic or sporadic user of Internet. One of the goals of this project will be to identify and correct the inherent selective bias on the platform due to the digital gap in relation to the inequality between people who may have access to or knowledge of the new technologies and those that do not. The main methodology to prevent this bias will be by crossing different databases in order to calculate statistical re-weightings and be able to apply corrections to current estimates of citizen participation.
Characterizing the decision-making process in the acceptance/rejection of the proposals
The second goal is to characterize the decision-making process that has given rise to the acceptance or rejection of the proposals of the platform. This process was carried out by the government team and involved reviewing, grouping and reworking the proposals from the general public (organized and non-organized) along with the face-to-face appointments and from the City Council. The project will develop an interpretable statistical model in order better to understand the mechanism of decision-making concerning the acceptance/rejection of the proposals.
The results of the study will lead to a better understanding of collective behaviour on the Decidim Barcelona platform and will be useful to take into account under-represented sectors of the population, as well as improve the performance of this participatory tool available to the public.