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DEEP EDGE: Data Empowerment in Ecological Participatory Democratic Governance

Participatory democracy provides a novel avenue for designing and planning more sustainable and just cities. Digitization offers a great potential to this task that still needs to be harnessed. By empowering citizens, participatory democracy offers greater reflexivity and legitimacy than traditional politics. Deep Edge is an action-research project that aims to transport citizens’ aspirations to planning and design practices through open digital tools.

We follow two national events of participatory democracy in France whose mission is to define applicable measures to make France more sustainable and more just: the “Convention citoyenne pour le climat,” and the “Débat national sur la Politique agricole commune.” These experiences highlight the importance of multimodal spatial data and their visualization in participatory democracy.

Moreover, in the context of the 2020 pandemic, the events illustrate the role of multimedia platforms in creating an interface between assembly members, governance committees, researchers and the civil society. Digital tools do not simply serve an organizational purpose but become an integral part of the democratic process and transition towards social, economic and ecological sustainability.