Seoul will be reorganizing and expanding the citizen participatory platform, “Democracy Seoul (democracy.seoul.go.kr),” so that it can be further renovated into an arena of everyday democracy that encourages the participation of citizens in policy-making. The new version of the website will open on March 1, 2020 (Sun.).
Since the opening of “Democracy Seoul” in October 2017, a total of 5,963 citizen suggestions, out of which 59 turned into real policies in Seoul, have been registered on the website. Representative examples are the Seoul-type support for the costs of medical infertility treatment for infertile couples and the obligatory protection of feral cats in construction zones. These policies were instituted according to citizens’ suggestions, followed by a debate with over 5,000 participants, and an answer from the mayor of Seoul.
The key goal of reorganizing “Democracy Seoul” is to enhance the practical use of citizens’ suggestions by streamlining the process for citizens’ suggestions to become policies. To this end, the existing process—citizens’ suggestions → forum → mayor’s answer—will be reorganized and actively associated with citizen-deliberative budgeting. Also, falsification and tampering will be prevented by applying blockchain technology and a one-person-one-vote system will be realized through the real-name authentication system.
First, a forum was open if a citizen’s suggestion received more than 500 likes. This standard was eased to 100 likes. Additionally, the mayor of Seoul would directly answer the issue if more than 5,000 citizens participated in a forum. Now, the minimum number of participants will be 1,000.
Second, the suggestions that attracted the attention of more than 1,000 citizens on an open forum will be actively reflected in the course of the budget compilation next year in the form of “Democracy Seoul-Related Projects” under the citizen-deliberative budgeting. This system will be newly established this year.
Third, the online/offline forum that was irregularly opened by the city of Seoul to hear the voices of the citizens on matters related to life-friendly policies or major projects, such as Gwanghwamun Plaza and Zeropay, will now open regularly every month.
The “Cooperative Forum with Other Institutions” for discovering not only the policies and projects for the city of Seoul, but also life-related issues for its affiliated institutions or autonomous districts will be opened after selecting five institutions this year. Last year, the city of Seoul and the Seoul Facilities Corporation opened a citizens’ forum related to the “use of plastic light sticks in Gocheok Sky Dome.”
Fourth, blockchain technology will be applied for the first time to prevent falsification and tampering while the one-person-one-vote system will be realized through a real-name authentication system to thoroughly prevent double voting.
Fifth, the steps in the process of citizen suggestions (suggestion → debate → result) will be systematically and transparently open to the public. Feedback will also be reinforced by notifying the person who offered the suggestion about the process via KakaoTalk or mobile message.
Website of “Democracy Seoul” (democracy.seoul.go.kr)