Open Government: Better Reykjavík
The City of Reykjavík offers their citizens the opportunity to present ideas, opinions and solutions to issues related to local services and operations by registering on an online consultation forum called Better Reykjavík. This forum allows registered users to take part in the realisations of their ideas, alongside other citizens, in order to find a common solution that benefits the local community.
Better Reykjavík creates an open government
This is how the forum works: a user registers with the forum and once the terms of participation are approved, they can present an idea which is then considered to be the public property of the citizens of Reykjavík. This simply means that this idea is subject to a consultative process by all the other members of the forum, where they can change or receive modifications as the registered users debate it.
There is a process to address the ideas that are presented on Better Reykjavík online forum, and it has the following steps:
The 5 ideas with the most rating are processed by a standing committee monthly and the top idea is then selected from each category (tourism, recreation and leisure, human rights, education, art and culture, operations, planning, environment, sports, welfare, transportation, various).
Last weekday of each month at noon, the 5 ideas with the most ratings and the top idea selected from each category are then moved to an area on the forum where they will be immediately addressed by the appropriate standing committee.
The ideal time for the committee to address these ideas should be one month, however, holidays might prolong this, and ideas can be sent to a district committee to speed up if it is needed.
The remaining ideas which don’t receive such high ratings will be used to guide elected representatives and city administrators.
What does it mean to put your idea in Better Reykjavík?
Once an idea is presented on the forum and is addressed by the city administration, the standing committee handles it according to the terms of each committee. Once the process is finalised, this idea is presented and published in the name of Better Reykjavík as a crowdsourced idea on Better Reykjavík’s online forum.
The decision and presentation of the ideas on the online forum are responsibility city government which operates strictly under the rules and laws of the government of Iceland. This means that not all the ideas will be addressed formally and some of them may actually be dismissed.
The purpose of the Better Reykjavík online forum is to serve as a platform where citizens can give their opinions and the city can consult on topics that are of common interest for the community, such as budget priorities or policy making, and eventually, this website will be developed for activities such as online voting for individual issues.
Having a platform at the service of the community helps to create an open government, based on the ideas and opinions of the community, this gives everyone the opportunity to engage with the city and to help solve the problems that they have with their environment.