Have you ever wondered if modern cities incorporate e-government to their policy making? And if so, how do they do it? Do you know what Geographic Information Systems (GISs) is?

Along with the financial effects brought by the 2008 crisis, civil dissatisfaction and disengagement from active citizenship have also skyrocketed. In order to cope with an ever-increasing amount of citizens who have lost trust in public management, a number of initiatives have been taken in every level of governance – namely, the Global, national and local –  to motivate citizens to participate in governing. The term Open Government is trending over the past couple of years and the means to implement its principles lie in Information Technology and the use of Big Data. Below you may find a quick description of two initiatives that briefly summarize the main objectives of Open-Government projects:

The Open government Partnership founded in 2011 to encourage the active interaction between official governments and civil society in an attempt to enhance transparency and efficiency. It started with only 8 member and it is now counting 70 participating countries around the world.

The Open Government in Europe Project is a similar platform. It is co-founded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union and the sub-programme Grundtvig Learning Partnership. Its 13 partners, spread around 12 EU countries, aim is to improve civil awareness and boost the citizens participation in their respective local governments.

The municipal government of Thessaloniki is a pioneer in that respect. Hereby, we present you the city’s forerunner in collaborative governing – IMCityThess. In the mid-summer, 2016, member of states, local governments and IT companies were gathered in San Diego, USA, to participate in the 35th consecutive conference organized by ESRI on Geographic Information Systems (GISs). Competing against 100,000 companies, local administration and global organizations, in a sub-event entitled SpecialAchievementsinGIS, the municipal administration of Thessaloniki was awarded the Global award for ‘good practises on GISs’.

IMCityThess is an app that makes use of intelligent maps and big data in order to ‘allows citizens to report all types of issues related to their neighbourhood such as, broken lamps, abandoned cars, trashcan absence, etc. The reported issues are immediately transferred to the appropriate municipality department in order to get fixed’ (IMCityThess).

Although, we don’t have enough information to comment on the app’s usefulness, the locals seem to embrace it as it is rated with 4+ stars on itunes and Play Store.