Author Archive

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Open Data: the Guardian launches a database

24. January 2010 – 21:57 by Roberto Zarro

In connection with the launch of, the new British government website offering free access to a huge amount of public-sector data for private or commercial reuse, the UK Guardian has published the World Government Data Search, a search engine that collects datasets and other open data services provided by governments around the world. At the moment the service searches across the UK, US, New Zealand and Australian governments’ data sites. The Guardian published also a gallery of the 10 best mash-ups built on top of government data provided in the United Kingdom and a similar gallery dedicated to the experiences promoted in US, New Zealand and Australia

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10 principles for a Public Administration 2.0

2. November 2009 – 00:12 by Roberto Zarro

A decalogue like a work in progress, to promote the idea and the principles of a new Public Administration more able to act and operate in the era of the Nets. This is the “Manifesto Amministrare 2.0”, conceived in draft version during the last edition of the Forum PA (an annual exhibition dedicated to the innovation in the public sector, who takes place in Rome), and currently under discussion, on and off line, for the realization of a 1.0 version of the document to present next year in the next edition of the Forum. The Manifesto was recently discussed at the Venezia Camp, event who took place in Venice at the end of October and who was participated by hundreds of innovators coming from enterprises, ONG and public administrations. Among them, also the Emilia-Romagna Region. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Young people, citizenship and participative democracy”

10. July 2009 – 11:25 by Roberto Zarro

The Municipality of Reggio Emilia will hold, from the 18th till the 20th of November 2009, the 9th “Conferenza annuale dell’Osservatorio Internazionale di Democrazia Partecipativa (OIDP)” (Annual Conference of the International Observatory of Participative Democracy). The Conference will be dedicated this year to the topic “Young people, citizenship and participative democracy. Dialogue about policies and experiences who build citizenship starting from new generations”. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Amministrare 2.0”

21. June 2009 – 18:41 by Roberto Zarro

In 2008, the Municipality of Venezia, in Italy, launched a new project, named “Amministrare 2.0”, with the intention to transform relationships between citizen and the institutions. The idea is to use new technologies to allow a direct access, without intermediation, to information and services designed to solve everyday problems, thanks to the cooperation between citizenship and local government. One year later, we take a look to the services already working and available to reach these ambitious goals

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Power – Web 2.0 Participative Portals for Emilia-Romagna

27. May 2009 – 11:57 by Roberto Zarro

Logo of the Emilia-Romagna's Telematic Plan

The project is promoted by the Emilia-Romagna Region in the framework of its Telematic Plan, and realized by the Municipalities of Bologna, Ferrara, Modena, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia. The aim of the project is to understand, both with studies and analysis, both with tests, how much and in which ways institutions can integrate web 2.0 tools in their official websites and portals. Leda Guidi, manager of the Bologna’s institutional civic net Iperbole and Power’s project manager, highlights goals, plans and early results of the project. Read the rest of this entry »

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So much e-participation. But how much e-democracy?

22. April 2009 – 16:57 by Roberto Zarro

Wednesday the 8th of April the Emilia-Romagna Region, with the partnership of Pep-Net and the scientific collaboration of the University of Bergamo, organised the international seminar “E-democracy 2.0: Institutions, citizens and new networks: a potential lexicon”. Around 200 people were present to the event, which was really interesting for the quality of thoughts and suggestions brought from the speakers. A summary of the many themes discussed during the day (in italian version) and all papers and slides presented by the speakers are on line on the website of, the e-democracy project promoted by the Emilia-Romagna Region ( Here we just try to take a shot of the main themes issued from the conversation among academics, experts, practitioners and simple “fan” of the e-participation.

Summarising at the maximum level, two great issues came out from the seminar. The first concerns e-participation: there were really great expectations about this concept at the beginning of the Internet revolution; furthermore these expectations were hardly cooled by the events; but now, with the web 2.0 explosion and the Barack Obama’s digital exploit already echoing from overseas, the term e-participation seems not only “trendly” again, but also much more than just a good claim.

The second evidence is that if blogs, social networks, peer to peer and so on really propelled the hopes of people who trust the e-participation perspective, the e-democracy idea – and with the term we mean here the direct use of the nets by the institutions to enrich and enlarge decisional processes, especially in the local contexts – is at the moment not so “trendy” or expanding. It’s obvious that where people work hard, and public institutions are really interested by the potential of e-democracy, some good results can be obtained. This issued for instance by the interventions of Rolf Luehrs, Pep-Net’s coordinator, and Sabrina Franceschini, manager of the Emilia-Romagna Region’s e-democracy projects. At the same time anyway, nobody can deny that the web 2.0 wave swamped the “e-democracy little island”, and that institutions seems now really unsettled about the role they can really play in an universe, the Net, that becomes everyday more open, horizontal and participative.
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Open Space Technology: when Participation is participated

30. January 2009 – 19:17 by Roberto Zarro

ParteciP.A. logo

Participation is a complex and multifaceted issue. Why not improving participation processes by means of a participatory practice? This has been the approach adopted during “Parteci P.A., the Meeting of the Participatory Democracy”, which took place form 21th to 23th of January, in Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. An Open Space Technology (OST) – a methodology for the design and organization of participatory events and meeting, through the direct contribution of the same participants – has been held as main method to debate about the future perspective of participatory policies.

Visions, hypothesis and concrete proposals about the possibility to improve participation processes has been shared among the participants. In an opening plenary session, more than one hundred people proposed the issues to deal during the rest of the day in specific workgroups, composed on a self-selection basis, and aiming to the production of thematic instant reports.

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