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DigiDEM Events

26 April 2023

Applicable to the Strand 2 – Measure 2.2 “Networks of Towns” Measure 2.3 “Civil Society Projects Strand 1 – “European Rememberance

Preparatory activities (if applicable): The DigiDEM Kick-off Meeting involved 11 participants from Belgium, Estonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, The Netherlands and Germany.

Location / Dates: 8 September 2021 (online)

Short description: The DigiDEM kick-off meeting was held by ECAS in September 2021 to launch the project activities and to prepare the consortium for its implementation.

The DigiDEM kick-off activities consisted of a thorough presentation of the project’s objectives and tasks, mainly the running of the crowdsourcing on air quality in 4 European cities in 4 Phases (problem identification, problem-solving, idea selection, policy formulation (Nov 2022-Jan 2023), and the organisation of events around it. Linked to these two main goals, the partners also worked to evaluate the results of the crowdsourcing – EGA presented the methodology of the Assessment Framework for E-Participation and the Social Listening Guidelines to gather feedback and reach the partners’ approval. 

In the meantime, ProInfo developed a specific communications strategy for the one-year crowdsourcing on air quality to focus on three main aspects: 

1. Project communication: promoting the project’s objectives, activities and results;

2. Operational communication: to foster citizen participation and decision-makers engagement during crowdsourcing; 

3. Internal communication of the consortium.


16 events have been carried out within this project:

Event 1

Participation: The events involved 65 citizens – 63 citizens from Belgium, 1 from Greece and 1 from Bulgaria.

Location / Dates: The events took place online on 23 November 2021 and on 26 April 2022 in Brussels.

Short description: First event: ECAS organised the launch event of the DigiDEM project in November 2021 to explore how Crowdsourcing can be used to gather citizens’ ideas and proposals on ‘air quality’ in Europe. ECAS presented to 20 participants the big transnational Crowdsourcing activity that would take place in 2022 and involve different European countries and cities, including Brussels, Belgium. Through technological platforms citizens throughout Europe would identify problems with air quality in their cities, elaborate proposals for solutions, select the top priorities for action and formulate conclusions on how to improve local, national and European environmental policies. In the first part of the event, experts discussed the topic ‘From People Power to Climate Action: Can Democracy Improve the Environment?’ and second part was focused on the crowdsourcing on air quality presented
by ECAS. Participants and speakers were policy-makers, civic tech developers, educators, participatory democracy experts, CSOs and interested citizens.

Second event: In April 2022, ECAS held a DigiDEM event for 45 young students aged 14-18 years old at the Montgomery School in Brussels to present the project and have an interactive workshop for them to contribute to the crowdsourcing on air quality.

The objective was to explain to young people the different forms of participation and how they can be active in their local life. ECAS presented the problems with air quality received from the first phase of the crowdsourcing and in groups, the students brainstormed on the solutions they would like policy makers to propose to those problems. There was also space for general reflections on how they would like their city improved and if they find participating in democracy challenging.

Event 2

Participation: The event involved 30 citizens from Montenegro, 4 from Bosnia and 3 from Albania.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Podgorica on 26 November 2021

Short description: In preparation for the first national event held in Podgorica, Civic Alliance invited stakeholders to join mainly to learn more about DigiDEM crowdsourcing the next year and prepare its support for the four phases of the platform. The event gathered participants from various organisations and decision-makers to discuss air pollution and air quality in Podgorica and Montenegro. The speakers at the first national event were two MPs and members of the Green Parliamentary Group – Ms Božena Jelušić and Ms Dragica Sekulić, as well as Nataša Kovačević from SEE Bankwatch Network. The event started with a presentation of DigiDEM and its activities, as well as the phases of the platform on air quality. The MPs discussed the ways of contributing from their positions as decision-makers to environmental protection. They highlighted the leading polluters in Montenegro but also stressed the need to increase the financial capacity and improve people’s awareness to reduce air pollution efficiently. Nataša Kovačević from CEE Bankwatch Network presented the air pollution situation, the challenges in measuring air quality and how to adopt new measures for future improvement.

Event 3

Participation: The event involved 22 citizens from Germany, 1 from Belgium, 1 from the USA, 1 from Bulgaria and 2 from Austria.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Berlin on 29 November 2021

Short description: Democracy International organised a launch event on 29 November 2021 to present the DigiDEM project to the general public. However, the event could only occur online due to the Covid-19 restrictions in Berlin, Germany. The event aimed to inform other organisations from Germany, mainly Berlin, about the upcoming crowdsourcing on air quality in 2022 and to have them as supporters throughout the campaign. Participants from the fields of citizen participation, direct democracy, digital democracy, environmental and climate protection, and potential crowdsourcing project participants were invited. 

YouTube video:

Event 4

Participation: The events involved 31 citizens from The Netherlands.

Location / Dates: The events took place online on 16 December 2021 and on 26 May 2022.

Short description: First event: In December 2021 Netwerk Democratie organised a launch event with 9 citizens from the city of Maastricht in The Netherlands. The aim of the event was to bring people who are actively involved in the climate together with democratic innovators. The goal was to think together about how we can mobilise society to arrive at a widely supported climate approach.
It was a creative session in which participants looked what they could learn from each other and strengthen each others’ efforts in participatory democracy processes, especially linked to environmental issues. The event showed concrete examples on the intersection of democracy and climate and announced the launch from January 2022 of the European crowdsourcing initiative under DigiDEM, in which EU citizens will be able to identify air quality problems and think about solutions. Participants had an interest in innovative methods of digital citizen engagement and/or networking potential in the field of climate concern and air quality.

Second event: The event took place in Amsterdam on 26 May 2022 and involved 22 citizens from the city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. The Parliament of the Future invited young people to share their opinion on the future of Europe. The project consisted of four workshops of 2.5 hours each and the goal in each session was for the participants to formulate policy propositions for a better future of Europe. In the fourth and final session the participants presented their policy propositions to policy makers of both the municipality and the European Commission. In Workshop 3 on the theme ‘Democratic Innovation’ Netwerk Democratie explained the DigiDem project on Air Quality more in-depth to specifically 11 participants. They discussed the problem of air quality and proposed several solutions that were added to the platform. Participants consisted of young people interested in democratic engagement.

Event 5

Participation: The event involved 14 Dutch citizens in The Netherlands.

Location / Dates: The event took place online on 28 September 2022 and on 13 October 2022.

On 28 September and 13 October Netwerk Democratie facilitated two digital workshops for 14 participants (8 participants in September members of the Dutch Youth Environmental Board and 6 participants in October members of Maastricht University Green Office). The digital crowdsourcing workshops started off with a short inventory of personal experiences with air pollution. The participants were located all over the Netherlands, experiencing various problems with air pollution such as industries emissions next to the border of Belgium, agriculture emissions in the rural areas of the Netherlands and the city-based participants mostly encountered air pollution from traffic.

After this short interactive introduction, Netwerk Democratie presented the Crowdsourcing initiative and the 30 existing proposals on the platform. After this, the participants were divided in small groups. Each group was facilitated with materials and instructions, in order to have a proper discussion about the 30 solutions, aiming to individually rank the 5 most impactful solutions. The discussion was really helpful for participants to form their opinion based on raised facts and arguments. Also, it proved that the participants really needed extra background information on the solutions, in order to make a decision on which solutions to rank. Netwerk Democratie provided the participants with a short document with background information and elaborated solution descriptions.

Event 6

Participation: The event involved 14 citizens from Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Amsterdam on 21 November 2022

Short description:  Netwerk Democratie organised its final project event in two parts – one in November 2022 and the other in February 2023. The first one was a democratic dinner for clean air in Amsterdam. The event occurred in A-Lab, a living lab for creative and socially relevant organisations in Amsterdam-North. The objective was to share the preliminary outcomes of the DigiDEM crowdsourcing project with relevant national and local stakeholders. The dinner format was chosen to have a ‘festive’ presentation of the results, combined with a proper in-depth table discussion about the project’s outcomes. The participants were national policymakers, researchers and citizens. There was a very positive response to the policy proposals from citizens on air quality, and the participants debated how EU and local regulations must go hand in hand. This discussion was fruitful, and there was much interest in sharing the results with colleagues and partner organisations. 

Event 7

Participation: The event involved 46 citizens from Estonia, 1 from The Netherlands, 1 from Malta, 2 from Latvia, 1 from Belgium, 2 from Greece, 1 from Germany, 1 from Montenegro, 1 from Slovenia, 1 from Iceland, 1 from Portugal and 1 from Austria.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Tallinn on 18 January 2023

Short description: EGA organised the workshop “How to boost co-creative policymaking?” at Arhitektuurikeskus in Tallinn. The event format was hybrid, with some international presenters and participants online and most of the participants on-site. 

The on-site participants were Estonian academics from Tartu University, Tallinn University, TalTech, representatives from governmental institutions (The State Chancellery, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, etc.), local authorities, NGOs and active citizens who have experience on organising/taking part in crowdsourcing initiatives. The aim of the workshop was: 

1. To inspire public institutions to practice e-participation/co-creation in a meaningful way

2. To introduce our tool to assess the impact of e-participation and discuss how it can be used in the development, evaluation, and analysis of e-participation initiatives.

3. To discuss the role of crowdsourcing and co-creation in policymaking

EGA presented the e-participation assessment framework and discussed with the stakeholders how it can be used in developing, evaluating, and analysing e-participation initiatives.

Event 8

Participation: The event involved 17 citizens from Amsterdam in The Netherlands.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Amsterdam on 1 February 2023

 Short description: The February 2023 event organised by Netwerk Democratie was the second part of their final DigiDEM event. The event called ‘Crowdsourcing: Hoe zetten we collectieve wijsheid om in beleid?’ was an event for local stakeholders and policy makers. 

Netwerk Democratie started by presenting the DigiDEM project’s conclusions and the lessons learned from it. The second presentation was made by a Hollandse Luchten (Dutch Skies) representative – a platform for citizen scientists measuring air quality with open-source sensors. The next part of the event was interaction with the audience, where the participants were invited to discuss the main question of the event in smaller groups (e.g. How can we turn the crowd’s wisdom into policy?). The event collected positive feedback about the DigiDEM project. It took place in De Waag, an institute operating in the interface between technology and society in the centre of Amsterdam.

Event 9

Participation: The event involved 55 citizens from Germany and 1 from Spain.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Berlin on 6 February 2023

Short description: The event took place at Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte in Berlin and in cooperation with the multipliers Mehr Demokratie Berlin and Bürgerbegehren Klimaschutz. This final advocacy event was held to present the project results to citizens, policy-makers and other experts and to create a community of stakeholders to continue to implement and advocate for the use of ICT to ensure inclusive and collaborative decision-making process based on shared knowledge and networking. Democracy International presented the lessons learnt and recommendations from its experience with crowdsourcing on air quality in Berlin and the challenges around participatory democracy in general.

The event was streamed live on YouTube: (Total 158 views)

Event 10

Participation: The event involved 88 citizens: 26 from Belgium, 3 from Estonia, 8 from Bulgaria, 6 from Germany, 5 from Greece, 3 from France, 5 from Italy, 4 from Montenegro, 1 from The Netherlands, 3 from Portugal, 2 from the UK, 2 from Slovenia, 5 from Hungary, 1 from Ukraine, 4 from Latvia, 2 from Serbia, 1 from Iceland, 2 from Spain, 1 from Sweden, 1 from Finland, 1 from Ireland, 1 from Belorussia and 1 from Austria.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Brussels on 14 February 2023

Short description: ECAS organised this final DigiDEM event in Brussels to showcase how, together with its partners, it crowdsourced the ideas of thousands of citizens from European cities’ ideas on improving air. The event “Love is in the Air! Improving Air Quality in Europe through Citizen Action” presented the main problems with air quality identified by citizens in their cities, their proposals for solutions and top priorities for environmental action on local, national and national and European levels. The event started by welcoming Gilles Pelayo, Head of Unit, EACEA, European Commission to give an introduction of the EC’s priorities on engaging citizens in policy-making and Minister Alain Maron to explain his upcoming environmental and democratic plans for Brussels. ECAS handed over to him the citizens’ top priorities for improving air quality that resulted from the DigiDEM project. 

The introductory speeches were followed by two panels with experts – first, to discuss air quality issues in Brussels and what the next steps are to make citizens’ recommendations a reality and second, to focus on the lessons learned on ensuring more collaborative decision-making processes with citizens.

Event 11

Participation: The event involved 27 citizens from Montenegro, 4 from Bosnia, 5 from Albania and 1 from the Roma community.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Ulcinj on 18 February 2023

Short description: Civic Alliance organised the final national event in February 2023 to showcase the project’s main results, as well as the policy proposals on air quality that would be presented to the European Parliament and EU Commission. The speakers at the final event were Aleksandar Dragićević, Civil and Ecological Activist and Nataša Kovačević from CEE Bankwatch Network. The event focused on three main topics. First, the activities that civil society and activists implemented to contribute to the reduction of air pollution; second, the mechanisms that can be used from a national level to improve air quality; and, finally, they presented what citizens can concretely do to support in making air quality better for all.

Event 12

Participation: The event involved 41 citizens from Burgas in Bulgaria.

Location / Dates: The event took place in Burgas on 28 February 2023

Short description: ProInfo organised a one-day workshop for the DiGiDEM project in Burgas, Bulgaria, where the crowdsourcing on air quality was carried out in 2022 (under DigiDEM’s sister project CODE Europe). 

The event aimed to promote the crowdsourcing results and hand over the policy suggestions made by the citizens to the local authorities. The one-day workshop was also a part of the knowledge-sharing mechanism of DigiDEM and brought together citizen engagement campaigners and communications specialists to discuss the challenges and best practices in promoting crowdsourcing activities on air quality. The objective was to promote the project lessons learnt and to support the community of stakeholders to continue implementing and advocating for using ICT to ensure inclusive and collaborative decision-making based on shared knowledge and networking. The event was co-hosted by Burgas University Prof. Dr. Assen Zlatarov, one of the official partners of ProInfo in the implementation of the project. Forty-one people from various backgrounds (campaigners, journalists, students, environmental scientists, and local government representatives) participated in the event.

Event 13, 14, 15, 16

The DigiDEM project funded 4 additional ‘events’, which were the 4 crowdsourcing campaigns that took place in Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam and Podgorica from January 2022 to January 2023.

The crowdsourcing took place in four phases:

  1. Phase ‘Problem Mapping’ – citizens identified problems related to air quality that they encounter daily.
  2. Phase ‘Problem Solving’ – collecting citizens’ solutions to the ‘air quality’ problems they have mapped in Phase 1.
  3. Phase ‘Ideas Selection’ – evaluating the solutions proposed in Phase 2.
  4. Phase ‘Policy Formulation’ – giving recommendations to a future national and EU policy.

ECAS, Netwerk Democratie, Civic Alliance and Democracy International mobilised citizens to contribute to all phases and give their concrete proposals on tackling air pollution in Europe.

Brussels had 315 citizens actively contributing to its crowdsourcing platforms;
Amsterdam had 118 citizens actively contributing to its crowdsourcing platforms;
Podgorica had 339 citizens actively contributing to its crowdsourcing platforms;
Berlin had 471 citizens actively contributing to its crowdsourcing platforms.

The partners have also used the Assessment Framework to evaluate their crowdsourcing experience and discuss the lessons learnt and possible recommendations for implementing transnational crowdsourcing, especially at the EU level.