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The openDCN project aims at promoting citizens participation and at linking citizens to their institutions and other decision makers with information products, a communication framework and, finally, an on-line deliberative space capable to involve them in the decision-making process, i.e. to define and put in action initiatives in the field of governance policies and sustainable development for their territory.

The goal of the openDCN project is to enhance the effectiveness of participative processes by conceiving, designing and implementing a socio-technical, computer-enabled, trusted environment for e-participation and fostering the evolution of the classic community-network concept into a new consultative-deliberative paradigm.

OpenDCN is able to manage three different kinds of spaces:

  • the community space, aimed at fostering public dialog on civic issues and facilitating the rise of mutual trust between participants through free discussions;
  • the deliberation space to foster the creation of a shared vision position among the participants, i.e., to finalize a deliberative process in order to produce a well defined outcome. Deliberation space makes up the core of the participatory system; participatory processes consist of a series of deliberation stages, each relying on a different participatory modality and involving different participants;
  • the personal space to manage user profile, relationships and personal objects of each user.
You can manage these spaces thanks to the tools of which the platform is equipped with. The main ones are:
  • Informed Discussion
  • Problems and Proposals
  • Events calendar
  • Certified Citizen Consultation
  • Brainstorming
  • Agenda

The Informed Discussion tool is an enriched forum with facilities for sharing information resources to support the discussion and for finalizing the discussion by producing, asynchronously and collaboratively, a summary document.

Problems and Proposals is the tool by which to collect constructive proposals that meet at least a problem previously reported by others or by the same participant.

The Certified Citizen Consultation tool polls among participants, who choose among alternatives, thanks to a variety of polling modalities; Certified Consultation is suitable when the opinion of a large number of people must be heard.

The On-Line Ordered Meeting tool structures synchronous on-line debate finalized to making decisions. It can be seen as an advanced chat where times and modes of interaction are organized by a set of business-meeting rules adopted to support a fair decision-making discussion. This tool is useful to support limited groups of people who have to work together synchronously on very specific issues or on bound domains. The idea and the design of the On-Line Ordered Meeting were heavily inspired by the earlier work of Doug Schuler and his team, who conceived and implemented e-Liberate.

The Agenda is the tool designed for outlining and managing the deliberative process, as well as for coordinating all the deliberation tools associated with a certain stage of the process.