Citizens and Cities : Citizens and Cities
5 City of Melbourne, Draft Bicycle Plan 2016-2020 www.participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/draft-bicycle- plan-2016-2020 6 Integrated Transport Strategy to drive Perth Transport www.perth.wa.gov.au/newsroom/featured-news- integrated-transport-strategy-drive-perth-transport 21 EY and citizen-focused cities | 20 | EY and citizen-focused cities Interactive ideas map Increasingly, interactive tools will allow citizens to access, collaborate and provide ideas, vote, share and comment on ideas destined to shape cities. For example, the City of Melbourne used an interactive, visual and intuitive map-based tool to develop its Draft Bicycle Plan 2016-2020. More than 7,000 combined submissions were made on the map to identify the top infrastructure priorities requiring improvement.5 The City of Perth used similar technology to enable citizens to share their ideas and concerns across all modes of transport during development of an Integrated Transport Strategy.6 What citizens need to engage with decision makers Citizen-focused cities allow people to express their needs and priorities, contribute their ideas and shape their experience of their cities directly. The alternative is governments and other organisations choosing on their behalf, essentially second guessing the needs of the people. Governments are almost always well-meaning and make real efforts to understand people’s needs, but why try to second guess what people want? It’s better to develop structures and mechanisms by which people can express their preferences. This will be achieved by creating markets so citizen voices can be heard through their behaviourial decisions. Access and ability to engage digitally with decision makers Just as consumers are willing to share their preferences for books and music with online shops, citizens want to share their preferences for city services with policy makers, planners, developers and providers. Traditionally, citizen participation methods were time consuming, costly and only appealed to a narrow demographic of the community. The people decision makers wanted to engage in discussing the city’s future are not necessarily available for the 6pm town hall meeting. But now, “Great cities don’t happen by chance. They are a combination of structured planning processes married to giving people the freedom to express themselves and to innovate at work, at home and at play.” Oliver Jones, EY Policy, Economic and Regulation Leader huge numbers of people can make their preferences known at any given moment via mobile apps and online interactive tools. And these people are already expressing their opinions, unasked, via social media. This ability for thousands of people to make their preferences known at any given moment — whether expressing demand for a particular service or offering an opinion on a vital issue — could be revolutionary. Like many businesses, city decision makers should consider themselves disrupted and embrace this change as an opportunity for a radical rethink of how they can put the people at the centre of what they do. For example, people are increasingly thinking about their energy use in the same way they think about other daily transactions. With the advent of data-rich personal devices and mass proliferation of digitised data and applications, consumers expect constant improvements in their regular transactions. They expect online book stores to proactively recommend books they might like; they expect their car’s GPS to know what time they’ll arrive at their destination. It’s the same with energy systems. Soon, citizens will expect their energy system to suggest opportunities to reduce their power bill and to know exactly how much that bill will be at current usage rates.