1. A platform for urban governance
As the ‘smart city’ concept has spread globally within the last few years, there has been a growing chorus of critics suggesting urban governance has been de-politicised through the reduction of social problems towards data modelling and technical challenges1. In order to respond to these critiques, a lot of emphasis has been placed recently on citizen participation and on more democratic forms of governance: citizens have become a central concern of ‘smart city’ governance, also thanks to the development of new technological architectures and infrastructures such as democracy platforms2.
In the foreground of these novel initiatives there is the platform Decidim, built on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and on transparent and inclusive ethical principles. This is a multi-purpose platform in use in Barcelona since late 2015 as a digital tool for citizens’ participation, consultation on municipal budgets3, urban regeneration4 and different policy plans such the Climate Change Plan5. Decidim, Catalan for ‘let’s decide’, has also been deployed in different institutional contexts from city and regions to organisations. In fact, the modular structure of the platform can adapt itself to the scale of governance required: from neighbourhood regeneration to the city’s participatory budget, from the general assembly of cooperatives to deciding resolutions for the French and EU parliaments.
Both for its important role in the Barcelona participatory planning strategy and for its broad international adoption, Decidim has acquired visibility and prominence in an alternative ‘smart city’ discourse6. Indeed, the platform has become the flagship project of a novel way of implementing digital technologies, as championed by Barcelona City Council led by former anti-evictions activist Ada Colau and the progressive coalitions that have been governing the city since 2015. Although probably ‘infused by a certain optimism on the networking and communication abilities of digital technologies’ (our interview with Joan Subirats7), the ‘smart city’ agenda has been fundamentally re-purposed in Barcelona in favour of citizen participation, the advancement of the right to information, and open, transparent and participatory decision-making through new digital platform technologies8. While the roots of this policy, Technological Sovereignty, lay deep in the early writings and through discussions among activists, civic technologists and political representatives, it is only more recently that the concept steered towards a policy centred on data control, with the appointment of Francesca Bria as Barcelona’s Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer (in short, CTO) from June 2016 to May 20199. Bria was responsible for the digital strategy of the city, overseeing the city’s Barcelona Digital City: Transition Towards Technological Sovereignty (October 2016), and was able to link the Technological Sovereignty agenda to a package of EU funded projects around the ‘citizen-centric’ smart city (originally, Decidim partook in this package alongside other projects in the technopolitical field, such as D-Cent10 and Decode11). As a consequence, Barcelona Digital City has become a referent on the international scene for a radically different vision of urban governance, digital commons and citizens’ rights while being heralded as a significant experiment in radical democracy.
The prominence of Decidim within this alternative framework has attracted the attention of urban governance scholars across the social sciences. Most of the literature thus far has analysed the uses of this FOSS platform for enhancing democratic deliberation and participatory projects both in Barcelona and elsewhere12. However, there has been little attention paid to the ‘actual existing’ organisation and to its fertile ecosystem, namely the work put in place to produce the FOSS platform, the intersections between the different actors animating the initiative and their role in making it portable to other places. Decidim is also said, to be a ‘radically participatory platform, which allows the control and intervention of its participants at all layers of its technological structure both from its internal code (backend) to its interfaces and participant experience (frontend)’ (our interview with an academic involved in the project).
This is the terrain this paper wants to dig into. Firstly, we situate Decidim within the larger framework of the Technological Sovereignty discourse and policy with emphasis on the recent but intense history of Barcelona Digital City. Secondly, we turn to the Decidim platform arguing that, despite Decidim code being freely available on open access repositories, the successful deployment and maintenance of the platform is conditional to the commoning practises of the ‘soft infrastructure’ surrounding it. This is a mix of more traditional commoning (i.e. mutual help and digital care) and a more institutional frame with a commitment to the common good (public-commons-partnerships, public development agreements (in Spanish, ‘convenio’), the making public of the city’s digital plans, documentations, tendering process, etc.). Thirdly, we conclude by analysing the Decidim community’s own positioning in terms of ‘technological autonomy’ and the tensions (and opportunities) between the different scales of international software development and its local implementation. In other words, by enquiring into the horizon of the possible for democratic governance platforms, we attempt a process of radical provincialisation of this technology in contrast to the dominant discourse on technological replication and portability.
In order to do so, we have used an ethnographic approach and mixed methods that included a dozen semi-structured recorded interviews (both in person and online) with key actors from the Barcelona city council, the Decidim Association and several organisations from the Decidim ecosystem; participant observation during the last three years in three Decidim Fests, one Smart City Expo World Congress and one event organised by the Digital Future Society, all in Barcelona. We also mapped the ecosystem taking as a sample the instances and collaborating partners rendered through Decidim.org website and the code commits of the Decidim GitHub repository.
2. Situating Decidim
Moving from the individual design, trials, and eventual implementation of a particular technology to a much larger abstraction, such as the ‘smart city’, requires a set of conceptual adjustments. Technological innovation is generally thought to be inserted and replicated in different places following a top-down logic leading from the conceptualization of networked infrastructure to the big tech platforms or stacks where devices, operative systems and applications plug-in13. By highlighting the socio-political aspects of technology production and circulation, and the landscape of its adoption, however, we contribute to the work of radical contextualisation and provincialisation of technological innovation and deployment14.
Decidim was developed as part of the EU funded D-CENT project (2013-2016), which also included pilots in Madrid, Helsinki and Reykjavik. The project involved the creation of digital tools in all four cities by bringing together academics, social movements, civic technologists and local administrations. In the case of Barcelona and Madrid, the result was the creation of FOSS participation platforms framed by a technopolitical approach which was different in each local community of practice involved15. The Decidim platform was launched by Barcelona City Council in February 2016 and it became the flagship project of Barcelona’s Digital City Plan presented in October of the same year (Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2016)16. This ambitious plan17, still officially in place at the moment of writing, aims towards achieving technological sovereignty for citizens and the city, that is to promote digital rights for citizens and a bottom-up ecosystem that can confront the dominance of corporate software in city governance and living18. According to Joan Subirats (our interview), Decidim is a ‘showcase for seeing the work done around technological innovation by the technopolitical movement: it is a FOSS open system, shareable and usable for the social organisation of democracy’.
This was the context of the possible, when momentum started building around technopolitics, the data commons debate and the democratic governance movement, that is, between an epistemic community committed to the commons and the activists springing from the 15M movement19 with their critique of the political system, its corrupt practices, and the austerity politics it fostered. As one main developer behind the Decidim platform suggested to us, ‘at the beginning, the project is a combination of the political moment when they [the coalition springing from the 15M] won the election and the question of democracy which was one of the most important questions of the electoral platform’. With the arrival of Barcelona en Comú, ‘we found the perfect moment to start with Decidim, at the moment that Madrid was doing the same’,20 he continues. In Stuart Hall’s terms, it was a conjuncture, ‘a moment, not a period, over-determined in its principle’21. Following this tradition of critical and engaged scholarship, we situate Decidim’s current developments historically and map the specificity of the present and the tendencies shaping the power relations around it, at the intersection of personal, political and intellectual trajectories.
The first consideration, therefore, is that the city of Barcelona and Catalonia have strong traditions of citizen co-production and direct democracy, with several referendums and participatory budgeting experiences, as well as leftist social and political movements with municipalist and cooperativist orientations22. These traditions intersect with a long history of urban movements and neighbourhood self-organisation, dating back at least to the First Spanish Republic in 1873-423, with a strong labour movement infused with anarchism and with its mutualistic and cooperative social practices24. Anti-austerity protests re-activated urban movements heading towards the season of street protests in 2011 under the name of 15M25. Indeed, since the 1990s Barcelona had been experiencing an intense process of neoliberalisation, ‘with a public agenda increasingly oriented toward tourism attraction and a strong weight of the private sector in local governance’26. The new administration embarked instead on an ambitious reform programme that ranged from public service re-municipalisation to the promotion of co-operative enterprises and the solidarity economy27. More recently, secessionist mobilisations for an independent Catalonia from the rest of Spain seem to have activated civil society further25.
At the same time, and second, Barcelona remains an important stage in the world scene of technological innovation29 with advocacy events (the Smart City & Mobile World Congresses), a lively epistemic community (e.g. Ateneus de Fabricacion Digital), and EU policy endeavours actively supported by former Chief Technology Officer Bria): this is also part of a pronounced globalisation process of Barcelona as a ‘model’ for digital policy and initiatives.
This double edge in the city policy orientation has thus far, and thirdly, showed commitment for supporting inclusive and bottom-up digital initiatives, for instance with the new procurement plan for ICT oriented towards the third sector.30 At the same time, the city’s goal of fostering digital rights remained a collective and political effort: for instance through the Ecosistema Ciudadano por los Derechos Digitales (Citizen’s Ecosytem for Digital Rights) – a repository of the City of Barcelona showcasing the local forces in the field of digital rights.31 At international level, Barcelona remains a reference point and founder, with Amsterdam and New York, of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, where progressive and municipalist experiences of citizenship through and about digital technologies look closely at the various alliances, strategies, and initiatives cities are putting in place to defend citizens’ rights and enhance their direct participation. Thus, the city of Barcelona fosters a culture of active citizenship with a policy commitment towards the common good; at the same time, it is the cradle of opportunities on the world scene of technological innovation. While provincialising means identifying and empowering these ‘new forms of resistance to corporate-led smart cities agendas and the mainstreaming of alternative forms of smart urbanism’ and to understand the specific social contexts that can help destabilise both the technologies and those universal assumptions32, these grassroots initiatives intersect with the global ‘smart city’ discourse bouncing between local politics and international relations, at times with contradictory outcomes33.
As appears clear to us, the historical, cultural and political context of Barcelona, its evolution, trajectory and futures have been crucial to the thinking, practice, and evolution of Decidim. For a lead developer, it is ‘easier’ to run Decidim in Barcelona because ‘you have a tradition of analogical cooperation and running assemblies and all these coops, education, and schools… you have so much energy around’. As a matter of fact, Barcelona ‘rebel city’ and its technopolitical movement were crucial to planting the seed of Decidim to the extent that the Barcelona city council’s instance (decidim.barcelona) was the first and main stem of the technology. To this respect, we need to stress how Decidim is entangled with Barcelona city governance too, for instance through the Reglament de Participació Ciutadana (Local Regulation for Citizens Participation) of the city.34 This was first enacted on the platform through a one-year participatory process (2017) on the wave of the city’s cultural and political push towards a ‘sistema de Democràcia Activa’ (system of active democracy). The three articles addressing digital participation (out of just over 100 comprising the overall Plan) highlight the general commitments of the public administration to maintaining the platform, and the obligation from the governance side of the platform to guarantee the highest standards in participation and inclusion of citizens. As the city maintains a critical role in the funding and the sustainability of the project (which also benefits from using local premises and a small team salaried by the city council), we note how Decidim is also a project of the internal transformation of the public administration. For Xabier Barandiaran, one of the thinkers behind the platform’s inception, it is ‘un partenariato Publico Comun’ (a public-commons partnership) rather than a Public-Private partnership.35 Indeed, Decidim is ‘a stone in the shoe of the city government: although it remains a strategic vision for the city, it is also part of the participatory strategy of the city’ (our interview with Joan Subirats). In this regard, Bua & Bussu (2021) speak of ‘democracy-driven governance’ when the efforts by social movements to invent new or to reclaim and transform existing spaces of participatory governance are ‘always necessarily institutionally linked’ throughout existing institutions. This might foster alliances between social movements and those public servants who are more open to change or with activist networks to build new participatory structures like Decidim.
3. Decidim fabric
In this section we map out the materialities (code and instances), forms of governance and the actors that make possible Decidim.
Decidim is written in the Ruby-on-Rails programming language, covered by an AGPL licence and documented in Decidim Docs.36 Its information architecture is made of Spaces for participation (Participatory Processes, Assemblies, Voting and Initiatives) and participatory Components, the mechanisms that connect users’ operations and interactions with the platform. Developers can customize or change the default behaviour of some features by creating their own Module. Modules are also officially developed and maintained by the wider Decidim user community, to the extent that these are validated and adopted by the community. Overall, the digital platform is developed through GitHub repository37 where the main website of the project (Decidim.org) is also hosted. Moreover, since mid 2021 the Decidim community has been using Element (element.io)38 an instant messaging collaboration software with different channels to gather the community’s conversation but also technical support from other participants.
Governance, coordination and discourse
The organisation of the Decidim platform is participated in and for the Decidim community in Metadecidim (meta.decidim.org). This is an instance of Decidim itself, but it is also the usual way through which the community speaks amongst itself. We mapped the Metadecidim instance which includes: its governance arrangements (e.g. the association board and assembly, the association partners, the licence and social contract); its development (e.g. product stewardship, common documentation and other outputs); and its communication and dissemination (e.g. the annual Decidim Fest, marketing, courses, activities, and learning resources). Metadecidim is the civic tech community in charge of designing and coordinating the new functionalities of the platform, a space to talk and debate about the technicalities working behind the scenes as well as to provide support to administrators and users of the platform. Being part of Metadecidim is, in fact, like ‘getting in touch with the design moment of Decidim itself’, admits a lead developer. Indeed, the governance of the Decidim project is unique in respect of its democratic arrangements, even for FOSS initiatives where the dominant model has been by far that of the ‘benevolent dictator’39, which relies heavily on one developer/hacker who has the final word on the code and its implementation. A lead developer of Decidim told us how he got first involved with the civic platform Consul in Madrid,40 and soon realised ‘the serious problems of internal governance’ within that software infrastructure, its working modalities and possibilities for innovation. As a consequence, with others, he grafted the platform in Barcelona contributing to make Decidim, where the internal governance system and the inclusion of all the community are top priorities.
The formal governance arrangements of the community are operationalised through the Decidim Free Software Association (from now, Decidim Association) a non-profit organisation which is open to anyone, both individuals and organisations, who manage an instance and/or contribute to Decidim code. The Decidim Association aims ‘to contribute to the democratisation of society’ with common shared values stated in the Decidim’s Social contract,41 with which the Association members are required to comply. The Association guarantees this process, for instance making agreements between Barcelona City Council and Localret (an institution representing all the cities in Catalonia). Its internal governing bodies (board, committees and councils) are, moreover, allowed to take action and decisions through the Metadecidim instance. Decidim has recently opened a page in OpenCollective to garner subscriptions from Association members, Partners’ contributions and free donations.42
According to Decidim.org43 there are around 390 instances of the platform in production or pre-production being used by institutions and organisations in 30 countries. However, we have taken as a sample only the 85 instances highlighted in Decidim.org (see Table 1 in the Annex: Decidim’s instances). We counted 43 cities, 20 regions/government and 22 organisations/NGOs. 75 of those instances (88%) are situated in Europe, 32 of them in Spain (37%), and 29 are in Catalonia, with 24 of these based in the province of Barcelona, comprising 32% of Europe instances and 28% globally. Remarkably, 12 of those 24 instances based in the province of Barcelona are organisations/NGOs: among those organisations we found projects linked to public government budgets, like the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, or linked to Barcelona City Council, like Barcelona Energia, a local operator in the energy market, and Fabra i Coats, a cultural centre. The rest of these organisations are linked to civic initiatives.
We want to highlight two of these, in particular. One is the Federació d’Associacions Veïnals de Barcelona (FAVB), a federation of the neighbourhood associations of the city of Barcelona. It has 50 years of existence and represents an historical social movement of the city, particularly active in the democratic transition of the 1970s and still an important actor in the local political agenda. Its Decidim instance (participa.favb.cat) lists around 3000 participants and more than 16 assemblies. The other association is Som Energia, a cooperative based in Girona (Catalonia) created in 2010. With more than 80000 members, it provides energy to more than 120.000 households in Spain. It uses Decidim (participa.somenergia.coop) to organise its general assembly and local working groups. Outside Barcelona and Catalonia, there are other organisations often linked to public funding, such as the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia in Spain (UNED), the Commission Nationale du Débat Public (FR), the Université de Bordeaux (FR), and many other smaller organisations linked to culture and EU funding projects, like Open Heritage Foundation and Cultuur Connect, and the Green Party of Canada (CA), Code for France (FR) or Zukunfts-prozess (DE).
We currently counted 30 actors that support Decidim platform (see Table 2 in the Annex: Decidim’s partners).44 Our sample of partners was retrieved from the Github commits on the old website on 07.11.2022. Overall, we have 18 (60%) for-profit enterprises (of which, 3 are small and 13 micro) with a majority being Limited Liability Companies (LLC). There are 12 non-profit organisations (40%) including public and civic organisations with 6 social enterprise/cooperatives, 4 foundations and 2 public entities. Among them, there are 3 research institutions (UPF, UOC and Eurecat) and the public consortium Localret formed by different city councils. Sixty percent of partners (18) are start-ups or social enterprises from the technology sector. The partnership policy has changed since the General Assembly of May 2022, so that the Decidim new website now only lists those organisations that have contributed 3% of their yearly income generated by Decidim-based activities.45
In terms of location, 21 organisations are from Spain (70%) and 8 from the rest of Europe: in particular, 15 of them are based in the province of Barcelona (50%), and 12 are micro (2-10 people) or small (11-50 people). The number of small and micro organisations (12 out of 30) plus the organisations/NGOs instances (12 out of 22) in Barcelona imply that Decidim actors, from partners to organisations that use a Decidim instance, are very much intertwined with their territory. We note however that a number of partners added in the last year or so are based elsewhere in Europe; this is consistent with the previously-mentioned trajectory of broadening the organisation’s objectives towards international software development and the replication of the platform. In this sense, Table2 in the Annex is more an effort to describe an evolving process rather than only being a static picture of what the Decidim ecosystem is right now.
Despite the software being free, at the end you need a company/cooperative that gives support for the configuration of the server and frontend instance: ‘We started to work with one company, but now they have 10-12 companies providing services in different countries based on this technology; based on developing services rather than providing a solution as a private enterprise’, says one leader of the organisation (our emphasis). Abandoning a market-driven perspective on patented technologies and closed software, we would rather focus on the interrelations (or indeed cooperation) among actors involved with projects such as Decidim, people who are committed to the common good while navigating internal governance arrangements.
4. ‘Actually existing’ commoning
While the profusion of interest around the success of the platform has focused mostly on participatory outputs (number of users, initiatives, or instances in place) and usability issues more generally46, we want to put our emphasis on the commoning practices beneath its frontend graphical interface. Smart technologies demand, in fact, the deployment of forms of cultural and social capital because they are linked to social exchange and their implementation is conditional to contextual arrangements in communities of interest and in localities47. The way in which commoning is organised or not, and at what level of practice, or whether it becomes a contextual element throughout the ecology of interoperating agents, are incredibly important issues for urban technology and the process leading to its deployment.
Some of these connections have been built thanks to the long-term cooperation springing from the street protests of 2011 (15M movement) and successively consolidated in myriads of novel configurations behind the many associations, groups, policies, initiatives, and collectives connecting the multiple faces and interests of the movement. One of the leaders of the 15M movement and later Public Participation Councillor in the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona (2015-2019), Gala Pin, ‘decided to involve different people in the process to start to think of innovative ways to spur participation and new technologies for participation’, recalls one interviewee. Indeed, most of the actors around Decidim consider themselves ‘partly activists, partly developers, partly cultural promoters and politicians’ (our interview with Decidim founding member), presenting affinity and synergy that are deeply reflexive because they are built on trust, reciprocal commitments and even personal friendship – to the point that a main developer explicitly suggests that ‘friend developers are trusted collaborators’. To our interviewees, the platform presents itself as a sort of ecology dictating a form of involvement by the very nature of things: for some, ‘Decidim is a natural space where to participate’. ‘We are also activists: we were naturally involved in the development of Decidim’, says a leading developer. Typically, an actor in the Decidim environment performs ‘sometimes more intellectual roles, sometimes more practical ones; they are half researcher/half practitioner’ which means being able ‘to give a talk about Decidim, to extend its use, and interact with actors that want to know more about Decidim’ remarks one academic involved in the initiative. As Joan Subirats suggested to us, the ‘Decidim project hasn’t got in mind just the aim of a more participatory democracy. It is also a way of doing technology differently: participation is the result, but there is also a process to be kept in mind’.
In order to better capture this process, both in space and time, we think through the concept of ‘soft infrastructure’, as an extension of commoning itself. The term ‘soft infrastructure’ is clearly not new in urban planning and economic literature. However, it is used with a variety of meanings, from Star’s intuition that infrastructure and networks produce some ‘invisible work’48 to an emphasis on ‘educational and research institutes’49; with regard to work and transfer of competencies, from Tonkiss’50 ‘networks of embodied labour’ and Benner’s ‘cross-firm learning community of practices’51 to Angelidou’s52 area-specific ‘complexes and clusters’, that is innovation ecosystems and business incubators as ‘catalysts for human and social capital development’.
Our use of ‘soft infrastructure’, instead, aims to emphasise two things. The first one is the networks of trust among peers within the growing Decidim ecosystem, more often described in the literature as ‘commoning practices’53. It builds upon Simone’s54 idea of ‘people as infrastructure’: while the latter concept was coined to highlight informal networks of trust and knowledge sustaining livelihood in megacities of the ‘Global South’, we use the former to stress the caring attitude vital to the livelihood of FOSS projects. Sustainability is now something high on the agenda of the community around the development of the platform: the latest Decidim Fest (October 2022) discussed the need of scouting new sources of independent funding away from shifting city majorities, but also the necessity of fostering a feminist ethics of digital care55 vital to the long term sustainability of the project. To this regard, we note how the latest software development company working in the Decidim ecology (made of just two people) has employed two trainees in order to teach them how to code Ruby-on-Rails, the language on which Decidim is built.
Beyond the lines of code that create Decidim and the collective spaces that implement its community, there are actual people: civic technologists, public officials, social entrepreneurs, activists of the commons and democratic governance, but also academics, ethical hackers and citizens activated through the different community participatory bodies and events, and through Metadecidim. ‘We are an affinity group’, says one of the academics supporting the initiative. They rely on each other, make agreements, negotiate rules and find common solutions, according to their principles and ethical principles, something that, overall, makes it ‘natural’ for them to participate in the different stages of the project’s design and implementation. According to a developer (Internet source), the groups are like ‘live systems’ which interact organically between them. They create and maintain the attention around the platform, as well as the discourse supporting it: democratic governance, free and open software, mutualistic principles, and an ethics of inclusion and digital care.
The second thing captured by our ‘soft infrastructure’ concept draws from a Foucaldian invitation to pay attention to ‘technical protocols, naming conventions, bureaucratic forms or measurement standards’56. These contribute both to the international visibility of the platform and to create a sense of identity within the ‘community’. Indeed, Decidim is not only an interface environment between the public administration and its users57. For one academic we interviewed, it is also a ‘political network’ made of documentation, design, training courses, and a legal framework. Developers’ work and the organisation’s activity, in fact, aim to be traceable and transparent following the principles of free and open software development (as in the Decidim GitHub repository) and by maintaining a public debate on the ongoing design of Decidim on an instance of the platform itself (Metadecidim). While acronyms, weblinks and regulatory frameworks tend to hide the people involved, these spring from their co-working practices, assemblies and groups, and even software development and marketing.
Thus, our understanding of ‘soft infrastructure’ appears more appropriate (than, say, ‘ecosystem’) in capturing the commoning practices that characterise such an environment while preserving some institutional, legal, and material elements: it includes both the informal relational practices of learning and working together, or events such as the Decidim Fest, and the more institutionalised regulations, agreements and documentation leading to its unique internal governance arrangements and the innovative Public Commons Partnership with the City of Barcelona. However, in our view, this trajectory has a contingent, relational and contextual historical background. According to Joan Subirats (our interview), ‘Decidim is very different from what we used to do before 2015 when we talked of ‘smart city’ with Big Tech in mind: it is the most evident product of that stage of debate’. In other words, this soft infrastructure represents the evolution of knowledge and actions produced by the 15M movement and the subsequent Technological Sovereignty policy adopted by the city of Barcelona.
5. Towards Technological Autonomy
In the present paper, we discuss governance and implementation of a global project of software development, whose ‘interface environment’58 reconfigures our relation to the act of reading, discussing and solving very local issues. We have situated Decidim’s community and software development in a broader socio-economic context and scrutinized the actual existing commoning practices that its ‘soft infrastructure’ enacts. The aim is to find a more democratic way than the production of the North American-centric, universalistic, top-down ‘smart city’ strategies aimed at inserting cities in different places through the flows of neoliberal digital capitalism. Indeed, this was the case for Barcelona City Council prior to the 2015 elections and we can already see the Decidim infrastructure facing up to the worlding forces of the ‘smart city’ discourse.
In this section we look at Decidim from a provincialising perspective. That is, moving the focus towards ‘new loci of enunciation from which to speak back against, thereby contesting, mainstream (smart) urbanism’59 In particular, we interrogate how Decidim, as a provincialising project, deals with the worlding tendencies of the contemporary ‘smart city’ by looking at the tensions (and opportunities) between global software development and territorial and networked embeddedness, on the one hand, and the community’s quest for technological autonomy, on the other. In so doing, we hope to make clearer the relations between the ideas underlying the Decidim system and the specificities of the possible.
5.1 Global software development vs territorial embeddedness
We would argue that despite Decidim code being freely available on open access repositories the successful deployment and maintenance of the platform is conditional to the lively ‘soft infrastructure’ surrounding it. Importantly, rather than reifying technology, co-opting it or aiming to, the Decidim approach involves understanding that technology is set in wider social relations60 thus de-centring the production and design of technology from itself61. This fosters learning, experimentation and local technological capabilities with a high-level of trust and embeddedness. In this respect, we note that the Decidim lead developer’s favourite book is Peopleware62, a key reference in his formation as a civic technologist for the network of trust he favours among the developers he works with. At the same time, Decidim’s infrastructure has a persistent rooting into the local terrain. As one interviewee from a small partner company remarks, ‘when northern cities ask for services, we charge 30% more than southern cities!’ and another, ‘we helped Catalunya Union Services during the pandemic for free’, which stresses exactly that deep territorial and cultural linkage of software, people and service embeddedness.
According to Mello Rose63, however, scalar tensions might manifest in the network embeddedness of technological development, as organisations maintain an ongoing and exclusive relationship with one another based on trust and problem-solving arrangements rather than market-based transactions. In this regard, we note that one of the leaders of the Decidim organisation reflected on the need to coordinate and evaluate the different components developed through the various instances of the platform. One leading member of the project also suggested to us that the organisation needed a public API64 in order ‘to monitor and evaluate’ the fluxes of data on participation, the projects and initiatives put through the platform, and the ethical issues that might arise between aims of ethical coding and the implementation for each instance of the platform in other parts of the world which might present different political aims.
On the other hand, as the creation and maintenance of the technology is embedded in a collaborative network of local organisations, these might pool cost-intensive technology maintenance while the implementation of the platform remains a local issue. Our research suggests that the Decidim infrastructure has both elements of embeddedness (territorial and networked), and that is also an ongoing and growing relationship with companies and institutions in international networks, ‘Decidim has opened business opportunities for different SMEs. Some of them are more politically/critically oriented and others are not so at all’ (our interview to one Association’s leader).
Indeed, rather than the traditional problem of up-scaling FOSS pilots to broader systems there is currently a lot of emphasis in the community around the Decidim’s flexible and modular structure which is able to scale-down towards simpler operations and smaller projects: in this regard, we note the developers’ push to change the design in order to maximise the platform’s modularity (our interviews and the public debate at Decidim Fest 2021). This has opened, reflexively on the platform itself, a participatory process on the code structure, the design affordances, and the usability of Decidim. The tender which followed up this process drew a city budget allocation of nearly half a million euros to the project. This innovation would be particularly beneficial to individual organisations working through the non-profit and cooperative sectors. At Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, for instance, the new strategic plan for the university was managed through employee deliberation thanks to an ad-hoc instance of Decidim; and during the pandemic, an international conference marking 25 years since Manuel Castells wrote ‘The Network Society’ was also organised there in that way, in both cases by contracting small civic tech companies. One social enterprise in the field of technological innovation and an important partner in Decidim, for instance, is adapting the platform for cooperatives, thus helping with assemblies and decision making: ‘This is an agreement between 3-4 initiatives, a first attempt to bring different collectives together to provide a service. That’s the way to go, I think.” (says its lead developer)
We are not sure if Decidim will become a ‘Metaproject’65 thanks to ‘the global synchronisation of digital participation in the municipalities’ (pp. 95-96) in the context of a network of similar initiatives engaged both towards the local and the global. More comparative studies are needed to bring this to the fore, although it is more likely that each instance of the platform will follow its own trajectory under the Metadecidim governance arrangements. We suggest this because, technological replication appears, in fact, imperfect from the point of view of the geographical economics of software development and adaptation. Decidim is rooted into Barcelona’s fertile context which might be difficult to replicate elsewhere. And, as the case study shows, the soft infrastructure that sustains the initiative is positively and uncompromisingly committed towards the common good.
5.2 Technological Sovereignty vs Technological Autonomy
According to a lead developer of the platform, these are the elements that are crucial to the success of Decidim: ‘1. a strong community of developers, 2. designed by activists, 3. whose core is mostly from the start-up and third sector and, 4. with the Metadecidim as a form of innovative governance to run the code’. The organic coming together of the developers’ community with its ecosystem has led some to suggest that Decidim and Metadecidim are ‘one of the most advanced global examples of technological autonomy’ (Decidim Fest 2020), a community capable of ‘democratically designing and maintaining the digital environment it uses for its own self-governance’. It appears clear to us that currently there is an effort to delink the platform and its software from Barcelona City Council funding and its changing policy directions – something that most of our interviewees remarked on in one way or another, as well as being a resolution to ask for financial commitments from official partners and affiliates (Decidim General Assembly, May 2022). This means the emphasis on the subjects of power has shifted: not the city any more, with its budget allocation, project management, procurement and policy commitments, but the techy people working in and around the platform’s soft infrastructure. Indeed, technological autonomy becomes ‘a matter of power around technology’, as one project leader suggested to us.
In this sense, talks around ‘technological autonomy’ represent an evolution of the Technological Sovereignty discourse that firstly supported the platform development: as we suggested above, it might be a sign of maturity for this technology, that the socio-economic relations within the ecosystem have been consolidated, and the potential for growing outside the city’s protective wing is now clear to many. Often though, successful narratives of novel technologies, start-ups or much bigger tech companies hide the support given by the public sector in terms of infrastructures and subsidies. Despite the push through politically motivated individuals and groups, it appears unlikely that the Decidim initiative can be replicated without the support and funding of city administrations: indeed, as an academic involved in the project claims to us, ‘we need academic funds, European funds and city council funds in order to push this agenda forward’. Thus, keeping various kinds of participants involved, with their various interests and capacities, and finding new ecosystems in which the software can flourish and change will be essential for the project’s future.
This article has aimed to shed some light on possible alternatives to the top-down, universalistic one-size-fits-all logic of the ‘smart city’. There are a number of digital platforms providing means to implement processes of collective deliberation and voting in different urban and social contexts. But there has been little research exploring the conditions of production and maintenance of these platforms; let alone, inquiring whether their internal governance arrangements are in line with the principles they promote. These are relevant issues if we want to rethink alternative digital urban solutions.
The approach we used here resonates with current efforts at both de-centring technology61 and provincialising the ‘smart city’67. This involves moving the research agenda on three interrelated fronts. First, it is necessary to expand it towards the soft infrastructures that make digital technologies for the many possible. Second, more studies on alternatives from different geographies and contexts that will allow us to understand the ‘actual existing smart city’, beyond western-centric approaches are welcome. And finally, as Burns et al (2021) argued, we need more comparative analysis in order to understand local specificities and build new knowledge that allows us to grasp the complex relational geographies of urban digitalisation and rethink the ‘right to smart city’.
In particular, the paper has discussed three crucial themes around the Decidim platform in Barcelona: the operationalisation of free and open software governance, the range of actors involved, and the city’s relationship with the civic tech community supporting the project. First, we linked the platform’s success in Barcelona to the recent history of social engagement and political change springing from the 15M protest movement (from 2011 onwards), and from a more general history and tradition of civic participation and social change in the Catalan capital. This relationship is substantiated both in the innovative Public Commons Partnership that animates the initiative and in the unique governance arrangements that inspire the platform development (at least for FOSS projects, often relying on one semi-forgotten developer as the ‘benevolent dictator’ of the code).
Second, we looked very closely at how civic tech and ethical hacking, academics, activists and city officials work and support each other. We call this high level of commoning a ‘soft infrastructure’ made of trust, close links with the city and the territorial-networked embeddedness of its code development. As Joan Subirats maintained to us, with Decidim there is a sense of a long-term trajectory at play: ‘the protagonists of this initiative will not only be a front image of the city policy, they will do many other things’.
Finally, and third, we discussed if a process of radical provincialisation of this technology is possible, by exploring the tensions (and opportunities) lying between the worlding and provincialising relationships of software development, and the platform’s adaptation to the diverse local contexts of its use. For instance, despite strong links with the public authority which funds and supports the initiatives throughout, the community has started thinking of itself in terms of ‘technological autonomy’. This is probably a sign that it has reached a stage of maturity and self-reliance, preparing to overcome possible changes in the city government and policy directions. Invariably, as the case of Decidim shows, new possibilities are available when a software development network considers itself ‘autonomous’ in relation to the political and geographical spectrums.
All this involves paying attention to the successful maintenance of digital solutions as well as their implementation. Indeed, the Decidim case study shows the relevance of the ‘soft infrastructure’ that sustains it, committed commoning practices plus a democratic governance framework. In our view, an innovative and more just digital city should be focusing on nurturing such trajectories that are deeply cultural, political and social rather than following only the technology per se and its capabilities for replication.
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Table 1. Decidim’s instances.
Retrieved from decidim.org and Github.
Ordered by creation date.
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-13|
|Cities||Online||Ayuntamiento de Pamplona (ES)||ES220||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Ciudad de Mexico (MX)||–||Mexico||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Commune d’Uccle (BE)||BE100||Belgium||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Commune de Waterloo (BE)||BE310||Belgium||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Département du Loiret (FR)||FRB06||France||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Helsinki kaupunki (FI)||FI1B1||Finland||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Tuusula Kunta (FI)||FI1B1||Finland||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Offline||Elogie Siemp (FR)||FR101||France||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Ville de Nivelles (BE)||BE310||Belgium||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Ville de Romainville (FR)||FR106||France||2019-12-16|
|Organizations||Offline||Federació Catalana Descoltisme i Guiatge – FCEG (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Organizations||Online||Barcelona Energia (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Organizations||Online||Som Enèrgia (ES)||ES512||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Organizations||Online||Code for France (FR)||FR101||France||2019-12-16|
|Regions||Online||Diputació de Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Regions||Online||Generalitat de Catalunya (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Regions||Online||Diputació de Girona (ES)||ES512||Spain||2019-12-16|
|Regions||Online||Métropole Européene de Lille (FR)||FRE11||France||2019-12-16|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament d’Esparreguera (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament d’Esplugues de Llobregat (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Calafell (ES)||ES514||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Malgrat De Mar (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Reus (ES)||ES514||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Sabadell (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Salt (ES)||ES512||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Sant Boi de Llobregat (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Sant Cugat del Vallès (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ajuntament de Terrassa (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ayuntamiento de Mérida (MX)||–||Mexico||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ayuntamiento de Veracruz (MX)||–||Mexico||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ville de Nancy (FR)||FRF31||France||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ville de Nanterre (FR)||FR105||France||2019-12-17|
|Cities||Online||Ville de Roubaix (FR)||FRE11||France||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Fàbrica de Creació Fabra i Coats (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Federació d’Associacions Veïnals de Barcelona – FAVB (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Federació d’Ateneus de Catalunya (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Fòrum Social Mundial d’economies Transformadores – FSMET (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||International Observatory on Participatory Democracy – IOPD (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||L’Economat Social (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Torre Jussana (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Commission Nationale du Débat Public (FR)||FR101||France||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Université de Bordeaux (FR)||FRI12||France||2019-12-17|
|Regions||Online||La Stratégie numérique Gaspésie (CA)||–||Canada||2019-12-17|
|Regions||Online||MonOpinion Belgium (BE)||BE100||Belgium||2019-12-17|
|Regions||Online||Departament de Loire Atlantique (FR)||FRG01||France||2019-12-17|
|Regions||Online||Mairie d’Angers (FR)||FRG02||France||2019-12-17|
|Regions||Online||Région Nouvelle Aquitaine (FR)||FRI12||France||2019-12-17|
|Regions||Online||Regione Puglia (IT)||ITF47||Italy||2019-12-17|
|Organizations||Online||Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia – UNED (ES)||ES300||Spain||2020-01-13|
|Regions||Online||République et Canton de Genève (CH)||CH013||Switzerland||2021-01-11|
|Cities||Online||Tampere kaupunki (FI)||FI197||Norway||2021-01-14|
|Cities||Online||New York City (US)||–||USA||2021-01-22|
|Cities||Online||City of Kakogawa (JP)||–||Japan||2021-03-05|
|Regions||Online||Assemblée Nationale (FR)||FR101||France||2021-03-17|
|Cities||Online||Stadt Luzern (CH)||CH061||Switzerland||2021-04-13|
|Organizations||Online||Cultuur Connect (BE)||BE100||Belgium||2021-04-13|
|Organizations||Online||Universitat Oberta de Catalunya – UOC (ES)||ES511||Spain||2021-04-13|
|Regions||Online||Visc Andorra – Govern d’Andorra (AD)||AD||Andorra||2021-04-13|
|Regions||Online||La Chambre / De Kamber, Belgium (BE)||BE100||Belgium||2021-04-13|
|Cities||Online||Quartieridee Wipkingen (CH)||CH040||Switzerland||2021-04-14|
|Cities||Online||Stavanger Kommune (NO)||NO0A1||Norway||2021-04-14|
|Cities||Online||Trondheim Kommune (NO)||NO060||Norway||2021-04-14|
|Regions||Online||Agence Nationale de la Cohesion des Territoires (FR)||FR101||France||2021-04-14|
|Regions||Online||Conference on The Future of Europe (EC/EU)||BE100||EU||2021-04-20|
|Cities||Online||Ville de Lausanne (CH)||CH011||Switzerland||2021-04-27|
|Cities||Online||Comune di Milano (IT)||ITC4C||Italy||2021-05-26|
|Cities||Online||Prefeitura de Belém (BR)||–||Brasil||2021-05-26|
|Regions||Online||Partecipa – Governo Italia (IT)||ITI43||Italy||2021-05-26|
|Cities||Online||Turku Abo (FI)||FI1C1||Finland||2021-08-11|
|Cities||Offline||City of Gdynia (PL)||PL634||Poland||2021-10-15|
|Cities||Online||Ayuntamiento de Getxo (ES)||ES213||Spain||2022-01-28|
|Cities||Online||Mein Quartier Zuerich (CH)||CH040||Switzerland||2022-03-01|
|Cities||Online||Stadt Zürich (CH)||CH040||Switzerland||2022-03-01|
|Organizations||Online||Green Party of Canada (CA)||–||Canada||2022-06-08|
Table 2. Decidim’s partners
Retrieved from decidim.org and Github.
Ordered by creation date.
|Name||Org. Type||Aim||Sector||Size||Size||City||NUTS3||Country||Partner since|
|IN3 Research Institute / UOC||Foundation||Non-profit||Civic||501-1000||Large||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-06-14|
|Marsbased||LLC||For profit||Private||11-50||Small||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-06-14|
|Eurecat. Technological Center of Catalonia||Foundation||Non-profit||PPP||501-1000||Large||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-06-14|
|codegram||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Terrassa (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-06-14|
|Swwweet||Freelancers||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-06-17|
|Populate||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Madrid (ES)||ES300||Spain||2017-06-17|
|Fundació Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia||Foundation||Non-profit||Civic||11-50||Small||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-06-17|
|Open Source Politics||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Paris (FR)||FR101||France||2017-10-04|
|ASP gems||LLC||For profit||Private||11-50||Small||Madrid (ES)||ES300||Spain||2017-10-04|
|El camino de Elder||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Huesca (ES)||ES241||Spain||2017-10-08|
|Adabits||Freelancers||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Cornellà de Llobregat (ES)||ES511||Spain||2017-10-08|
|Coditramuntana||LLC||For profit||Private||11-50||Small||Girona (ES)||ES512||Spain||2017-12-15|
|ethicoo||Freelancers||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Palma (ES)||ES532||Spain||2018-05-15|
|Bit Lab Innovacio Cultural Social||Foundation||Non-profit||Civic||2-10||Micro||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2018-07-05|
|Platoniq lab||Association||Non-profit||Private||11-50||Small||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2019-02-19|
|Sokotech||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2020-03-06|
|Digital Fems||Association||Non-profit||Civic||2-10||Micro||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2020-09-14|
|mainio tech||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Helsinki (FI)||FI1B1||Finland||2020-09-16|
|Coopdevs||Cooperative||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Barcelona (ES)||ES511||Spain||2020-10-09|
|LiquidVoting||Freelancers||For profit||Private||1||Micro||Faro (PT)||PT150||Portugal||2020-12-01|
|Octree||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Carouge (CH)||CH013||Switzerland||2021-01-13|
|Tremend||LLC||For profit||Private||501-1000||Large||Bucharest (RO)||RO321||Romania||2021-02-25|
|Puzzle ITC||LLC||For profit||Private||51-200||Medium||Bern (CH)||CH021||Switzerland||2021-06-15|
|Afroleadership||Association||Non-profit||Civic||11-50||Small||Yaoundé (CM)||Outside Europe||Cameroon||2022-02-24|
|Mitgestalten||LLC||For profit||Private||2-10||Micro||Wien (AT)||AT130||Austria||2022-09-05|
- McFarlane and Söderström, ‘On Alternative Smart Cities’; Datta, ‘The Digital Turn in Postcolonial Urbanism’; Cardullo and Kitchin, ‘Being a “Citizen” in the Smart City’ ↩
- Isin and Ruppert, Being Digital Citizens; Smith and Pietro Martín, ‘Going beyond the Smart City?’; Cardullo, Citizens in the ‘Smart City’: Participation, Co -Production, Governance ↩
- Borge, Balcells, and Padró-Solanet, ‘Democratic Disruption or Continuity?’ ↩
- March and Ribera-Fumaz, ‘Smart Contradictions’ ↩
- Satorras et al., ‘Co-Production of Urban Climate Planning’ ↩
- Morozov and Bria, ‘Rethinking the Smart City’ ↩
- The interview took place after Joan Subirats stepped down as Culture, Education and Science 6th deputy mayor and only a couple of months before he was appointed as Minister of Universities and Research in the Spanish national government. One of the early promoters of Barcelona en Comú and elected city councillor for this coalition (2019-2021), he is emeritus professor of Political Science and one of the leading figures of the 15M (Occupy) Movement in Spain ↩
- Galdon, ‘Technological Sovereignty?’; Tieman, ‘Barcelona’; Gomà and Subirats, Canvi d’època i de Polítiques Públiques a Catalunya; Ribera-Fumaz, ‘Moving from Smart Citizens to Technological Sovereignty?’; Blanco, Salazar, and Bianchi, ‘Urban Governance and Political Change under a Radical Left Government’; Charnock, March, and Ribera-Fumaz, ‘From Smart to Rebel City?’ ↩
- Monge et al., ‘A New Data Deal’ ↩
- https://dcentproject.eu ↩
- https://decodeproject.eu ↩
- Aragón et al., ‘Deliberative Platform Design’; Bua and Bussu, ‘Between Governance-Driven Democratisation and Democracy-Driven Governance’; Sánchez Vergara, Papaoikonomou, and Ginieis, ‘Exploring the Strategic Communication of the Sharing City Project through Frame Analysis’; Monge et al., ‘A New Data Deal’ ↩
- e.g. Mattern, ‘A City Is Not a Computer’ ↩
- e.g. Shelton, Zook, and Wiig, ‘The “Actually Existing Smart City”’; Kitchin et al., ‘Smart Cities, Epistemic Communities, Advocacy Coalitions and the `last Mile’ Problem’ ↩
- Smith and Pietro Martín, ‘Going beyond the Smart City?’ ↩
- Barcelona ciutat digital: transició cap a la sobirania tecnològica https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/digital/en/blog/publication-of-the-balance-for-the-barcelona-digital-city-plan-2015-2019 ↩
- Ribera-Fumaz, ‘Moving from Smart Citizens to Technological Sovereignty?’ ↩
- Blanco, Gomà Carmona, and Subirats, ‘El Nuevo Municipalismo’; Morozov and Bria, ‘Rethinking the Smart City’ ↩
- 15M is the short name for the occupy movement of the Indignados which took the streets of the main Spanish cities in 2011 as a protest against neoliberal austerity and a general disaffection towards traditional politics ↩
- The platform developed in Madrid was Consul https://consulproject.org/es/ ↩
- The Hard Road to Renewal, 130 ↩
- Rubio-Pueyo, ‘Municipalism in Spain’; Blanco, Gomà Carmona, and Subirats, ‘El Nuevo Municipalismo’ ↩
- Nel·lo, ‘Movimientos urbanos y defensa del patrimonio colectivo en la región metropolitana de Barcelona’ ↩
- Blanco, Salazar, and Bianchi, ‘Urban Governance and Political Change under a Radical Left Government’ ↩
- Della Porta et al., Movement Parties against Austerity ↩
- Blanco, Salazar, and Bianchi, ‘Urban Governance and Political Change under a Radical Left Government’, 3 ↩
- Bua and Bussu, ‘Between Governance-Driven Democratisation and Democracy-Driven Governance ↩
- Della Porta et al., Movement Parties against Austerity ↩
- Charnock, March, and Ribera-Fumaz, ‘From Smart to Rebel City?’ ↩
- https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/contractaciopublica/sites/default/files/guia_adt_6_guia_de_compra_publica_tic_esp_2017_af_9en.pdf ↩
- https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/digital/es/iniciativas-del-ecosistema-ciudadano-por-los-derechos-digitales ↩
- Burns et al., ‘Smart Cities’; see also Roy, ‘Slumdog Cities’ ↩
- see Charnock, March, and Ribera-Fumaz, ‘From Smart to Rebel City?’ ↩
- https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/participaciociutadana/sites/default/files/documents/reglament_participacio_catala.pdf ↩
- https://docs.decidim.org/en/whitepaper/decidim-a-brief-overview/ ↩
- http://docs.decidim.org ↩
- https://github.com/decidim ↩
- Element is a FOSS client based on Matrix, an open standard and protocol for instant messaging ↩
- Ljungberg, ‘Open Source Movements as a Model for Organizing’ ↩
- https://consulproject.org/es/ ↩
- https://docs.decidim.org/en/develop/understand/social-contract ↩
- https://opencollective.com/decidim ↩
- https://decidim.org/usedby (retrieved on 14.11.2022) ↩
- Excluding DECODE consortium and taking into account that the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) is listed three times as Tecnopolitica research group, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the organisation as a whole ↩
- https://decidim.org/partnership-policy ↩
- e.g. Aragón et al., ‘Deliberative Platform Design’; Borge, Balcells, and Padró-Solanet, ‘Democratic Disruption or Continuity?’ ↩
- Cardullo, Citizens in the ‘Smart City’: Participation, Co -Production, Governance ↩
- Star, ‘The Ethnography of Infrastructure’ ↩
- Dyer et al., ‘Framework for Soft and Hard City Infrastructures’ ↩
- ‘Afterword’ ↩
- ‘Learning Communities in a Learning Region’ ↩
- ‘The Role of Smart City Characteristics in the Plans of Fifteen Cities’ ↩
- e.g. Susser, ‘For or against Commoning?’; Di Feliciantonio and Aru, ‘Dai Commons al Commoning (Urbano)’ ↩
- ‘People as Infrastructure’ ↩
- see D’ Ignazio and Klein, Data Feminism ↩
- Mattern, ‘Scaffolding, Hard and Soft. Infrastructures as Critical and Generative Structures’ ↩
- Drucker, ‘Humanities Approaches to Interface Theory’ ↩
- Drucker, cit. ↩
- Sheppard, 2013 in Burns et al. ↩
- Charnock and Ribera-Fumaz, ‘Barcelona En Comú: Urban Democracy and “the Common Good”.’ ↩
- Kitchin, ‘Afterword: Decentering the Smart City’ ↩
- Demarco and Lister, Peopleware ↩
- Mello Rose, ‘The Unexpected Persistence of Non-Corporate Platforms’ ↩
- Application Programming Interfaces are rules that explain how computers or applications communicate with one another, such as an intermediary layer between an application and the web server ↩
- Peña López, Convirtiendo participación en soberanía ↩
- Kitchin, ‘Afterword: Decentering the Smart City’ ↩
- Burns et al., ‘Smart Cities’ ↩