We believe that the world’s greatest challenges will never be solved by one person or organization alone. We need to work together! We are introducing our new series #MeetTheCreators with a monthly interview with a member showing his/her impact and work for reaching the sustainable development goals.
Meet our SDG this month:
The Sustainable Development Goal Nr 11 wants to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Meet our creator this month:
|Member:||Amanda Sauter, Co-Founder|
|SDG:||Nr 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities|
2324.ch is a platform that enables municipalities to step into dialogue with the community and engage citizens to participate in decision making processes and information sharing. We talked to Amanda Sauter who co-founded 2324.ch with Mauro Bieg and Nicolas Hebting in 2015.
How did you come up with the idea for founding 2324.ch?
The idea was born out of the personal pain and frustration our co-founder Mauro experienced when an old factory in his hometown was torn down rather than converted into a public cultural space. He didn’t feel included in the decision making process and was missing a way of providing quick and direct feedback to the municipal government. Now, with new technologies in place, we want to build and encourage direct contact and dialogue between the population and the municipal governments.
How is your project contributing to Sustainable Development Goal No.11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities?
We are building an online village square for citizens, associations and municipalities to exchange ideas, feedback and keep people up to date with what’s going on in their community, town or city. Our aim is to engage the population into shaping their community on a local level. When people are connected and work together, they save resources and feel responsible for where they live and work.
The municipalities are our direct clients and their first goal is to provide a space where they can inform the population. An informed community can participate in dialogue and make good decisions.
How would online collaboration transform the way municipalities work together with the population?
In the best way they have citizens participate earlier in the process and involve them more directly in the decision making process. Citizens would be more engaged and also understand better what roles conflict and compromise play. Therefore the overall quality of decisions could be raised and ideally would be backed by a wide population.
Does this example reflect how far municipalities in Switzerland have come in the process of going digital?
It’s really hard to generalize, as there are big differences between individual municipalities. It is really hard for some municipalities to keep up with the technology and pace. That’s also why they are hiring outside providers like us to create their websites and platforms. It is actually good that they are not trying to do it all on their own.
What’s your biggest challenge?
It is a challenge to get participants engaged and to understand that they need to contribute to keep the larger community alive. That’s something we need to remind people of and get onto their minds. They gain responsibility for their community beyond voting.
What do you hope the future of municipalities in Switzerland will look like with 2324.ch?
I hope all municipalities will have access to 2324.ch in the future. I think it should get easier for the population to contribute and participate using online channels. It would be really cool if the dialogue would start on the platform and they would continue the dialogue about municipal issues offline. Ultimately, the goal is not only to bring them all online, it’s enhancing the dialogue between municipal government and citizens and let technology play an ideal role in it. It gets harder and harder to meet people in real life these days. You have so many choices, you can meet people online from all over the world. All of this makes it harder to step into dialogue with your neighbors.
Thank you, Amanda for the great conversation and all the best going forward with 2324.ch
Sonja Bichsel, Storytelling, Communications, Civic participation, Education & Coaching