The main focus of the project was focussed around two pilots. One of the pilots tried to implement a smart way to create a digital platform for online deliberation on topics regarding the liveability, spatial quality and economic wellbeing of the city centre of Enschede. In a networked society more and more networked initiatives take place. Initiatives that by it’s nature of being formed and discussed by a variety of, mostly non-governmental, actors in the city, often create more support. In order to create a supplementary platform to excising platforms on for example existing well-known social media platforms, we selected a platform that created possibilities for:
  • Open discussion
  • Possibilities for anyone to contribute
  • The need of a public platform, that could not be used anonymous, in order to stimulate valuable contributions.
  • Stimulated bottom-up actors to participate
  • Created possibilities to combine online and offline interference and discussion.
In the process of developing a successful platform for digital consultation en deliberation in the city of Enschede we brought together a variety of actors within the city centre. Most prominent were the municipality and the retailers association “Winkelhart Enschede”. During the project we learned that most actors are willing to participate on a platform for deliberation, but only of there is some form of sense of urgency and feeling of safety to discuss freely, regarding the topics being discussed. Turmoil in the board of the retailers association, and some ‘natural’ distrust between important actors, proved to be negative factors, regarding the success and support of the platform. Second lesson is that an online platform benefits from a user friendly interface. Due to technical difficulties and ambiguity to the way the chosen platform should be used, a successful launch of the platform was postponed several times. To see the effects of the platform on a smaller scale and to measure some first effects of the use of a networked and smart platform, we elaborate a small test environment within a group of topics regarding Saxion University of applied sciences itself. Actors involved in the discussion will be both professionals, students as neighbouring inhabitants. Results and further lessons are excepted by the end of September 2017.