Unlocking the Power of Citizens: the CODE Europe Project Revolutionizes Policy-Making through Crowdsourcing

In a ground-breaking initiative, the project CODE Europe has spearheaded a movement to empower citizens in co-creating policies alongside decision-makers through the innovative mechanism of Crowdsourcing. This participatory democracy approach harnesses the capabilities of technology to tap into the collective wisdom of the masses. The aim is to provide citizens with a platform to learn from one another, collaborate, and actively engage in the decision-making process.

The CODE Europe project has engaged citizens in six European countries, focusing on the critical issue of air quality. The choice of this topic is deliberate, considering its transnational implications and the alarming statistics linking it to over 400,000 premature deaths annually. Additionally, through its sister project DiGiDem four more European countries were engaged in the crowdsourcing, which culminated in proposals to improve the Revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives currently under review by the EU.

From January to March 2022, Phase One, titled “Problem Mapping,” witnessed the active participation of 45,888 European citizens who identified specific air quality challenges in their daily lives. This phase aimed to comprehensively map the issues faced by citizens concerning air quality. Following this, from April to July 2022, Phase Two, known as “Problem Solving,” engaged 44,719 European citizens who proposed solutions to the identified air quality problems, emphasizing collective intelligence for effective solutions. Moving on to Phase Three, conducted from August to October 2022, 6,487 European citizens participated in “Ideas Selection,” registering and digitally identifying themselves to evaluate and select the most promising solutions from Phase Two. The focus was on highlighting popular ideas and priorities for presentation to policymakers at the EU, national, and local levels. Lastly, in Phase Four, spanning from October 2022 to January 15, 2023, 1,130 European citizens actively collaborated with experts and digitally identified themselves to refine policy proposals on air quality based on insights gathered in the previous phases.

The culmination of these efforts has led to the development and presentation of ten proposals by CODE Europe to policymakers, aimed at improving air quality in Europe:

  • More Green Space in Cities
  • Increased Cycling and Walking Infrastructure and its Quality
  • Taxing Big Polluters
  • Support for Renewable Energy Infrastructure
  • Strengthening Public Transport Networks in Non-Urban Areas
  • Establishing Rules for Zero Emission Industries
  • Enforcing Improved Building Insulation
  • Electrifying Bus Fleets
  • Establishing a 30 km/h Speed Limit in Cities
  • Supporting Workshops and School Programs to Increase Awareness about Air Pollution and Environmental Protection.

To spread the experience of using crowdsourcing to influence public policy decision-making, CODE Europe has created the Innovative Online Course “Crowdsourcing for Civil Society Organisations”

The course is designed to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to harness the full potential of crowdsourcing for impactful citizen involvement. This carefully curated course addresses diverse facets of crowdsourcing, providing a comprehensive understanding of its applications in citizen organizations, national contexts, EU-level initiatives, technological setups, and citizen engagement campaigns. Drawing on the valuable experience gained during the implementation of the Co-Deciding Europe: Civic Tech for Good Governance and Active Citizenship (CODE Europe) project in 2021-2022, this course offers invaluable insights for those seeking to make a difference.

Module 1: The Basics of Crowdsourcing

Embark on a journey through the fundamentals of crowdsourcing, exploring its definition, historical context, and underlying principles that make it a potent tool for citizen engagement. Compare crowdsourcing to other EU-level tools for citizen participation and delve into national examples from Iceland and Finland, showcasing the effective use of crowdsourcing in co-decision making with citizens.

The course is now open for enrolment, and it’s absolutely free! Registration is required to embark on this enriching educational experience. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your understanding of crowdsourcing and drive positive change in your community. Enrol now and take the first step towards becoming a catalyst for citizen-driven decision-making!

By leveraging the collective intelligence of European citizens, CODE Europe is paving the way for a more inclusive and impactful approach to shaping policies that address pressing issues like air quality. The journey continues as these proposals move from crowdsourced ideas to potential legislative action, bridging the gap between citizens and policymakers for a brighter, cleaner future.

CODE Europe was implemented by a consortium led by CSS – Centre for Social Sciences, Hungary and included the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), ProInfo Bulgaria, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Citizens Foundation Iceland, DAEM Greece, OneSource Portugal, ScIFY Greece, Inepa Slovenia, Providus Latvia, EGA Estonia and Manabalss Latvia.


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