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WeGovNow team at annual fair in San Donà di Piave

Just like last year, the WeGovNow team represented by project partner Mapping for Change, attended the annual Le Fiere Del Rosario festival in San Donà Di Piave to support the pilot municipality Comune Di San Donà Di Piave in introducing the WeGovNow platform to a new audience. The annual three-day festival is attended by 300,000 visitors and so presented the perfect opportunity to show local people a new way of participating in the shaping of their city. Using large paper maps at the exhibition stand and hands-on activities we focused on three key areas – sustainability in partnership with EnergyCare Interreg; urban regeneration in partnership with Urbact; and cycle routes.

The sustainability activity encouraged visitors to add icons to a map on the stand wall and record either actions or pledges they can take to reduce their environmental footprint. Contributions included reducing car use by cycling to work and school and recycling as much waste as possible. All the contributions were digitised by students of Istituto AlbertiInstituto Galileo and entered on to Sustainability Community Map within the WeGovNow platform. The map will now be used by EnergyCare to inspire further positive actions to improve sustainability in the region.

The urban regeneration activities included a mapping party around the city to record the empty shops, highlighting the need to attract more business to the area. Visitors to the stand were then asked, ‘What is missing from San Donà?’ and were invited to add icons and comments to a large map of the city to illustrate their suggestions. These ideas will be used by Urbact to build a business case to attract local entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. The map was also digitised by students of Istituto Alberti on the corresponding Community Map on the platform so it can remain open for further ideas and shared amongst the San Donà community. All visitors to the WeGovNow stand were offered a souvenir printed photo of themselves next to their contribution on the map and a flyer so they could continue to explore the platform in their own time.

On the final day we gathered a party and took to our wheels, following a planned cycle route around the town, led by Andrea Cereser, the Mayor of San Donà Di Piave who is an avid cyclist. During the journey, photos and notes of interesting points were uploaded to the WeGovNow Community Map dealing with cycle routes. The activity raised awareness of the possible cycle routes in the city and also added contributions to the map which future cyclists can benefit from.

Back at base-camp, there were a number of demonstrations each day about how to use the platform. Students presented its functionalities to their peers and their concrete plans on using the WeGovNow component FirstLife to organise a charity marathon and the component LiquidFeedback to decide who to raise funds for. Representatives of the local business forum were also introduced to the platform and are beginning to think about how it can benefit their members, for example by having a place to advertise jobs and opportunities to young people, adding events to FirstLife or offering surplus stock on Offers and Requests.

All in all, the festival was a great success, allowing us to show the platform and its many uses to a large, diverse and very engaged audience who may otherwise not have known about WeGovNow. In addition, our presence at the festival was reported by the local news and on social media, increasing our reach even further.

The key to WeGovNow’s success at the festival was the organisation by the team at Comune Di San Donà Di Piave, the enthusiasm shown by all partners, the support provided by the hard working students of Istituto Alberti/Galileo and the very public backing of the Mayor – Andrea Cereser.  So, thank you everyone involved, a true team effort!