to provide an environment in which any citizen who chooses to can observe, audit and participate in democratic debate and decision making
However we also need to look at the affordances of that space to define it – what does it do. Affordance is fancy way of saying ‘ the effects that you expect something to have’. Rather than a quality which is largely descriptive an affordance is something that you expect your design to have. Below are the affordances which I expect an online civic space to have:
- Publicity– you can’t do democracy in private
- Identity – you need some certainty that you are dealing with actual citizens and acknowledges the fact that democracy is a social activity
- Agility – this builds on earlier posts but there needs to be some kind of decision making process embedded and it needs to be fit for purpose in a networked world.
- Curation – there is a need for some kind of management which will ensure that decisions are taken
- Information – looking forward these civic spaces need to feed off the data of government as a decision support tool – and should also provide context for the outputs of previous decisions.
- Co-production – this needs to be a shared space though different people can and will have different roles within it – some as representatives