What do we mean by participation
We are living in a period we could describe as a crisis of politics, characterised by a lack of public trust and a distancing from politics. We need to recover this trust by developing, transforming and changing the models of governance, adapting them to these new times.
Governments can no longer solve everything on their own and perhaps it is a good thing that civil society should play a more prominent role in administering and resolving the tasks of government. In fact the public wants its voice to be heard, to participate and collaborate, and now it has more tools and channels to do so than ever, so we should take advantage of that.
Who knows better than the people of a street or neighbourhood its problems, what it lacks and what it needs? Who knows better than the professionals and associations working in a particular sector the needs of that sector? We have to create the necessary channels for channelling this information and, in that way, engage the citizens of the city in the tasks of government, what we call "governing with the people".
That is why we are presenting Open Government in Barcelona to you. Barcelona is opening up its government and doing so with the intention of making it transparent but, also, of seeking the participation and engagement of its citizens. Citizen participation, open data and transparency shape open government but, more than that, it represents a change of attitude, a cultural change, a change in the governance model that forces us to open up data and collaborate with our citizens in everything we do as a government.
Barcelona needs it citizens to move forward and find solutions to its problems and needs. Together we can.
Carles Agustí i Hernàndez
Commissioner for Citizen Participation and Associations