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Tbilisi, Georgia

Smart Map Civic Activity Portal (TBI0006)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tbilisi Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: “TbilisiMunicipalServicesDevelopmentAgency”NCLE,theAdmini strationof Tbilisi Municipality, Municipal Legal Department, Municipal Department of Environment and Landscaping, Municipal Amenities Depaartment, Municipal department of Economic Development

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Environment and Climate, Infrastructure & Transport, Open Data, Public Service Delivery, Science & Technology, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tbilisi, Georgia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Public Accountability , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Multi-Profile Mechanism for Open Government and Civic Engagement - Information and Civic Activity Portal ("SMART MAP")
Commitment Description
1. Local Context and Needs
The creation of Information and Civic Activity Portal (Smart Map)e-portal is based on a range of large and specific challenges characterizing the local context in Tbilisi.
For example, a major part of administrative complaints is related to construction and green cover (tree cutting) issues. Although legislation envisages the possibility of the involvement of the Parties before construction permits are issued, there is no pro-active mechanism that would ensure effective supply of information on the ongoing processes at any stage of the constructionpermit process. In fact, only a small part of the civic society is actually able to use this right whereas such issues of high public interest in most cases, directly affect the interests of different groups of citizens. The mentioned above and other similar examples necessitated for Tbilisi Municipality the need to create a mechanism enabling the public to receive information related to their living environment and, in general, about the city at any stage of construction, (green plants) tree cutting and about ongoing or planned for implementation infrastructure projects in Tbilisi. In terms of user’s awareness, it is also important to have mechanisms for processing and simplified usage of published information which can be an important prerequisite for the increase of the citizen engagement. As it was noted, there was a need to create a system for effective dialogue with the citizens and ensuring of their engagement, as well as establishment of a rapid and effective response system for city problems. The Tbilisi City Hall also needs to unite various functions of Smart map e-portal in a unified system, which will enable the City Hall to understand the public mood, to assess the existing needs and challenges and to plan short and long-term activities.
2. Description of Information and Civic Activity Portal Functional Information and Civil Activity Portal (Smart map) includes an e-portal and uses as the basis the interactive map of Tbilisi. It utilizes from the base, diversifies and radically changes the interactive maps of Tbilisi, the possibilities and the purpose of their use. In particular, it not only creates on the map additional cover zones but also connects them to a number of functions that convert the standard e-map into the so-called “Smart map", to multi-profile mechanism for civic engagement - Information and Civic Activity Portal "SMART MAP". It is important that each functionality that is described below and falls under the "Smart Map" portal is a part of the unified portal and is not scattered in various portals and electronic means. The following cover zones will be created and developed: 1. The cover zones will be established showing on the map the construction status of construction sites at any stage, of any initiated by Tbilisi City Hall or its subordinate structures projects from the very beginning. This zone of portal shall connect to the Architecture Service and Urban Development Service Base and will interactively display renewable basic data related to the constructions in Tbilisi. Thus, by means of the map, the information on construction will easily be transformed into a simple-to-use and interactive means, making it easy for the user only by indication on the map to automatically receive the information. 2. Based on the similar principle, the second zone will provide access to permit information on green cover (tree cutting and other) cutting/ re-planting permits; 3. The third cover zone contains information about the ongoing or planned to be implemented infrastructure projects of Tbilisi City Hall and its subordinated entities. This information will be uploaded on a specially created website connected with "Smart Map" and will enable the public to receive information both from the web-site as well as the Smart Map “through the appropriate cover zone. The map includes relevant to the new functions and cover zones images, working and drawing or other tools. As a result of the development of the portal, following functions will be created: A) Interactive access to information based only on the marking on the "Smart Map” of a particular area represents the first important function that enables a combined or alternative search on the portal of the thematic and territorial information. For example, a user will be able to mark on the map his residential location or any other area (territorial marking) and at the same time to indicate within this territory as the information of his interest the information on construction issues and green cover. As a result, the user not only receives the relevant information at that time but subscribes to this type of information and automatically receives updated information about any novelty within the marked area. Platform users will also be able to group any mentioned material in different combinations according to the topic, the data, periods of time, territory or other criteria
(e.g. how many construction or tree cutting permits have been given in this area in the given period; how the data compares with other time periods and / or other areas). Everybody will be able to create an individual profile for better management of their activities in the portal. B) Within Fix-Tbilisi functionality it will be possible to fix certain problems in Tbilisi using the appropriate (mobile) application, which will appear in the "Smart Map" portal. Tbilisi City Hall will have an obligation to respond in compliance with the set up procedures to the fixed problem in the relevant time frame. Within the framework of this Action Plan and at the first stage, the list of these issues subject to the response within the Fix-Tbilisi application will be the following services: all services related to outdoor lighting, all the services related to phytosanitary activities and mowing-formation of green cover, placement of park benches, all service within the scope of Tbilisi City Hall cleaning obligations. The population using the cell phone app will be able to fix all the problems in the city related to the above-mentioned topics, make a photo, indicate the location and upload the material for further reaction. Indications marked by the public by means of a mobile phone application will appear on the map and the timer of the deadline for the response from Tbilisi City Hall will switch on. In response to citizens' appeals and uploaded photographs, in accordance with the relevant rules, the City Hall and / or its subordinate structures will look into the fixed problem and in the relevant time frame will provide appropriate response. The contents and results of the response will be displayed publicly in the same way as the problem fixed by the population is displayed. Accordingly, any result whether it is the information about solving of the problem (with confirming photo material) or other type of answer will be publicized in compliance with the relevant regulation. C) The independent means for communication with population, Tbilisi Forum, will be created which when discussing territorially or thematically important issues will be connected to Information on Civil Activity Portal ("Smart map") and other means created within the frames of the Open Government program . The population will be able to conduct a discussion on any important subject through Tbilisi Forum. Both Tbilisi Forum as well as any means envisaged by this action plan will have the functionality of sharing the information in different social networks. The legal basis and mobile functioning mechanisms will be elaborated, the linkage of the updated information on the Smart Map, the storage of information provided by citizens and other conditions will be defined. Procedures and deadlines for adequate reaction from public officials will be established. The obligations of the City Hall employees will be determined.
3. Positive Outcome for the Public A) The access to information on all the data that will become part of Information and Civic Activity portal. This information will automatically in the interactive format be available for citizens who are interested in ongoing processes in their place of residence. The mechanism for their participation in the management process and the adoption of informed decisions will be created. B) One of the most important items of a result-oriented, accountable engagement system will be created.Tbilisi City Hall will have the obligation to timely respond to the city's problems fixed in the portal and also the City Hall will have the possibility to better analyze the needs of the population. This will improve the quality of the City Hall service and, consequently, living conditions for citizens. C) The system will be created assisting the City Hall in taking decisions through public participation and based on their actual needs.
Implementation date: 2020
Commitment 1:Multi-Profile Mechanism of Open Government and Civic Participation– Information and Civic Activities Portal “Smart Map”
Implementing Entity
“TbilisiMunicipalServicesDevelopmentAgency”NCLE,theAdmini strationof Tbilisi Municipality, Municipal Legal Department, Municipal Department of Environment and Landscaping, Municipal Amenities Department, Municipal department of Economic Development
Description of Current Situation
Access to information in Tbilisi Municipality City Hall is based on minimal legal requirements, which very often do not serve as the best means for supplying information and engagement of the broad public. Citizens report on their problems via hotline and through filed statements. There are no effective mechanisms for unified content analysis of the statements and for response based on its results. Citizens' involvement in the process of governance is non-systematic and of limited scale.
Significantly increase access to information on all the data that will become part of Information and Civic Activity Portal. This information shall automatically be available in the interactive format for citizens who are interested in what's happening in their living environment. Create a mechanism for their participation in the management process and for making informed decisions
Main Aim
-Create one of the most important elements of the resultoriented, accountable engagement system. Tbilisi City Hall will be able to give more timely response to the city's problems reported in the portal and better analyze the needs of the population. Improve the quality of Tbilisi City Hall service and, consequently, living conditions for citizens. - Create a system will which will support Tbilisi Municipality in making their decisions through public participation and based on their needs.
OGP Principles
Transparency, Access to Information
Accountability
Civic Engagement
Technology and Innovation for Openness and Accountability
Implementation Stages
Approval of accurate technical tasks and terms needed for creation of the multifunctional webportal and for the update and modernization of given municipal interactive maps.
01.01.2019 - 31.03.2019
Development of portal’s technical and contextualpart
01.02.2019 - 30.04.2019
Creating individual page for citizens and its integration withthe map
01.03.2019 - 31.03.2019
Subscription function for users to any information related to different activities on interactive map
01.04.2019 - 31.04.2019
Implementation and piloting of the portal
01.05.2019 - 31.12.2019
Elaboration and adoption of supportive legislative acts for the system
01.05.2019 - 30.06.2019
Conduct trainings for the relevant staff aimed at the functioning of the map and processing of the received information
01.09.2019 - 30.10.2019
Production of a video clip covering portal and other OGP commitments and its dissemination through social media, mass media or local units of municipalities
30.10.2019 - 30.03.2020
Indicator
Smart map e-portal, which contains new or/and improved cover zones for information accessibility is developed and introduced; supportive measures and trainings are carried out; - Smart map e-portal fully contains functional described in the introductory part; - In compliance with the introductory part, legislature is developed for portal’s functional support, which includes procedures, institutional support and personnel’s responsibilities; - Active informational campaign aimed to raise awareness on engagement mechanism in accordance with the Open Government Communication Strategy of Tbilisi City Hall is carried out throughout the city (preparation of video clip and its distribution via social media).
Risks and Hypothesis
- It is possible to have correctable initial errors in the newly implemented system.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Multi-Profile Mechanism of Open Government and Civic Participation - Information and Civic Activities Portal "SMART MAP"

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Information and Civil Activity Portal (Smart map) includes an e-portal and uses as the basis the interactive map of Tbilisi. It utilizes from the base, diversifies and radically changes the interactive maps of Tbilisi, the possibilities and the purpose of their use. In particular, it not only creates on the map additional cover zones but also connects them to a number of functions that convert the standard e-map into the so-called “Smart map", to multi-profile mechanism for civic engagement – Information and Civic Activity Portal "SMART MAP". It is important that each functionality that is described and falls under the "Smart Map" portal is a part of the unified portal and is not scattered in various portals and electronic means.”

Milestones

1.1 Approval of accurate technical tasks and terms needed for creation of the multifunctional web portal and for the update and modernization of given municipal interactive maps

1.2 Development of portal’s technical and contextual part

1.3 Creating individual page for citizens and its integration with the map

1.4 Subscription function for users to any information related to different activities on interactive map

1.5 Implementation and piloting of the portal

1.6 Elaboration and adoption of supportive legislative acts for the system

1.7 Conduct trainings for the relevant staff aimed at the functioning of the map and processing of the received information

1.8 Production of a video clip covering portal and other OGP commitments and its dissemination through social media, mass media or local units of municipalities

Start Date: January 2019

End Date: March 2020

Editorial Note: The commitment text above is an excerpt from the Tbilisi 2018–2020 action plan. The complete text provides detailed and technical information about how the milestones will be carried out. The full commitment is available here: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Tbilisi_Action-Plan_2018-2020.pdf

Context and Objectives

Unregulated urban construction projects are important issues in Tbilisi. Although these projects can affect the living environment in Tbilisi, residents currently have limited access to relevant information and are often not involved in the decision-making processes. [1] One of the most notorious cases of civic absence in the executive processes was Panorama Tbilisi. This project envisaged the creation of four multi-functional areas in the city center, expanding to the territories of the city. [2] CSOs expressed concern that Panorama Tbilisi could damage Tbilisi’s historical center and urban life while serving the private interests of investors. The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation did not consult the public and civil society while issuing permits for construction, despite significant public interest in the project. [3] The project was also believed to serve private interests of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili who had invested in its managing agency, the Georgian Co-investment Fund. [4] Another major point of contention between environmental activists and Tbilisi City Hall ended in early 2019, which started with the CSO Green Alternative’s discovering that then-Mayor Gigi Ugulava had issued a permit to build a hotel in one of the largest (and few) parks in Tbilisi, Vake Park, endangering its green area. [5] After a number of public demonstrations, protest camps, and court cases, investors finally agreed to “either sell or exchange the property with the authorities,” but details of this deal are not available. [6]

Urban development and green spaces were also listed among the top six major issues in Tbilisi, according to OSGF’s 2017 Tbilisi Citizen’s Needs Assessment. [7] Khatuna Gvelesiani, the director of “Walk,” held a public contest in the beginning of 2019 to fund citizens’ urban initiatives, and the majority of 38 proposals concerned  renovating green spaces. [8] During one public meeting between Tbilisi residents and heads of Tbilisi administrative districts (Gamgeoba), green spaces were high on the agenda, but problems varied based on districts and included transportation of people with disabilities, parking, and chaotic construction. [9]

This commitment is carried forward from the first action plan with slight modifications that focus on addressing specific urban issues, such as outdoor lighting, clearing services, and phytosanitary activities. [10] Considering the importance of urban projects to Tbilisi residents, this commitment aims to create an electronic mechanism – the Information and Civic Activity Portal (SMART MAP) – to provide citizens with relevant information about processes regarding their living environment. This information was previously not available in a unified platform. SMART MAP will also comprise Fix-Tbilisi and Tbilisi Forum, which are platforms on which citizens can submit appeals and discuss issues with each other. Based on territorial marking on an interactive Tbilisi map, residents will be able to obtain information regarding any infrastructure projects and green cover cutting and planting by Tbilisi City Hall or its subordinate agencies at any stage. The commitment also aims to increase civic participation in the decision-making processes through the Fix-Tbilisi portal’s integration into the SMART MAP. [11] [12]

SMART MAP entails obligation by the Tbilisi City Hall to respond to citizens’ issues reported through Fix-Tbilisi and develop more adequate and evidence-based services and projects based on the feedback. Though Tbilisi Forum will also allow space for discussions, there will be no formal obligation for City Hall to take these inputs into account. Relevant legal obligations for City Hall to respond to citizens through SMART MAP are yet to be determined. However, the commitment indicates that all responses, and citizen-submitted problems, will be publicly displayed. For these reasons, the commitment is relevant to the OGP values of civic participation and public accountability and furthers access to information.

The commitment consists of specific milestones to verify its degree of completion. If fully completed, the platform will stand as a unified source of information, which will make it easier for citizens to obtain information, provide feedback to City Hall, and engage in online discussions. In terms of improving government practice, City Hall’s obligation to respond to and address citizen-identified problems submitted through SMART MAP within specific time frames can improve government practice. However, its potential impact largely depends on the sustainability and visibility of the project, especially as there is no designated staff to implement the commitment (existing personnel will share new responsibilities [13]). This commitment includes the dissemination of a promotional video, which can be strengthened with other outreach activities. In the case of “Your Idea for the City Mayor,” launched last year, only 9% of the Tbilisi population have heard of it or used it. [14] TI Georgia launched a similar project to Fix Tbilisi, “Chemikucha.ge,” in partnership with the Tbilisi Municipality in 2011, which allowed citizens to submit appeals. However, that process was a one-time initiative, and the website is inactive [15].

Interviewed civil society expressed varying opinions on this commitment to the IRM researcher. While the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) praised City Hall for carrying it forward, [16] an OSGF representative did not believe it was ambitious enough to be transformative, as policy level change was needed to respond to public needs and to increase public participation in decision-making processes. [17]

Next steps

Considering the relevance and importance of this commitment, the IRM researcher recommends ensuring its sustainability and that it is launched on time. It is also important to elaborate on its legal basis to ensure the commitment’s continuity. Nevertheless, to improve the scope of intended activities, Tbilisi City Hall could do the following:

  • Ensure timely implementation and launch of the activities of the commitment, especially as it was carried forward from the previous action plan.
  • Develop and include detailed management system of the commitment to operationalize the internal management of the initiative in City Hall. The design of the commitment does not explain how new obligations will be distributed within existing staff, and it states that the “the obligations of City Hall employees will be determined.” The initiative, if fully completed, will increase the workload of City Hall’s back office and will respond to specific appeals on-site. Therefore, it is important to have an adequate management system, which will effectively respond to citizen inputs. Presently, it is unclear who will administer the SMART MAP and provide feedback or the frequency of updating information on the platform.
  • Expand Fix-Tbilisi to include other issue areas (as in Tbilisi’s first action plan), such as damaged roads or sanitation, to increase citizen engagement in local governance.
  • Awareness raising is an important component to ensure that citizens are knowledgeable about tools available to them and the OGP process overall. If the portals are launched, City Hall should organize a presentation similar to “Your Idea for the City Mayor.” OGP’s visibility and CSOs presence, especially of the working group members during the presentation, must be ensured. Together with a promotional video, it could also be useful to develop informational brochures on how to use the tools and to distribute copies at events and at City Hall.
[1] Radio Tavisupleba, “Cutting trees in the name of buildings,” August 2017: https://bit.ly/2G43cH8

[2] These new territories include: Sololaki Rise, Sololaki Gardens, Tavisufleba (Liberty) Square and Erekle II Square.

[3] Panoramic Threat of “Panorama Tbilisi”, Indigo 2016: http://indigo.com.ge/articles/environment/panorama-tbilisis-panoramuli-saprtxe

[4] Nina Jobe, “Investigation: Who are Panorama Tbilisi’s Mystery Backers?” OC Media, November 2017: https://oc-media.org/investigation-who-are-panorama-tbilisis-mystery-backers/

[5] “Environmental activists celebrate win in 6-year battle against Vake Park hotel,” OC Media 2019: https://oc-media.org/environmental-activists-celebrate-win-in-6-year-battle-against-vake-park-hotel/

[6] “Environmental activists celebrate win in 6-year battle against Vake Park hotel,” OC Media 2019: https://oc-media.org/environmental-activists-celebrate-win-in-6-year-battle-against-vake-park-hotel/

[7] OSGF, Needs Assessment of Tbilisi Population 2017: https://bit.ly/2Vtazgz

[8] Khatuna Gvelesiani, Director of the urban NGO “Walk,” interview with IRM Researcher, March 2, 2019.

[9] Public Meeting with Representatives of Tbilisi Administrative Districts (Gamgeoba), February 21, 2019: https://www.facebook.com/events/340984443425090/

[10] Giorgi Topuria, interview with IRM Researcher, March 15, 2019.

[11] Topuria, March 15, 2019.

[12] Khasia, March 9, 2019.

[13] Kiknadze, March 18, 2019.

[14] Public Opinion Survey: Residents of Georgia 2018, International Republican Institute (IRI): April 2018: http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/2018-5-29_georgia_poll_presentation.pdf

[15] Topuria, March 15, 2019.

[16] Salome Sagharadze, GYLA, interview with IRM Researcher, March 31, 2019.

[17] Tsintsabadze, interview with IRM Researcher, March 25, 2019.


Commitments

  1. Smart Map Civic Activity Portal

    TBI0006, 2018, E-Government

  2. Participatory Budgeting

    TBI0007, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Access to Services and Civic Engagement

    TBI0008, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Transparent Governance

    TBI0009, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. City Hall Transparency

    TBI0010, 2018, E-Government

  6. Information and Civic Activities Portal “Smart Map”

    TBI0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Introduction of Petition System to Tbilisi City Hall, Electronic Petition

    TBI0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  8. Implementation of Participatory Budget Mechanism

    TBI0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Interactive Accessibility to Budget Spending and Introduction of Civic Control Mechanisms

    TBI0004, 2017, Audits and Controls

  10. Introduction of Civic Control and Accessibility Mechanisms for Municipal Services

    TBI0005, 2017, Capacity Building

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