Virtual Neighborhoods and E-Government: A Case Study Comparison

Virtual Neighborhoods and E-Government: A Case Study Comparison

Rebecca Moody (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Dennis de Kool (Center for Public Innovation, The Netherlands) and Victor Bekkers (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2038-4.ch117
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In this chapter the potential of GIS oriented neighborhood websites in the Netherlands will be researched. This new way of location based e-government will be analyzed by conducting four case studies in which neighborhood websites hold a central position. Relevant questions include to what degree these websites improve service delivery on the side of the government and to what degree the position of citizens is strengthened and whether they are pleased with the website and with the results. Attention will be paid to critical factors for success when designing the website but also while implementing the website and when the website is running. This will be done in terms of service delivery, closing of the gap between government and citizens and the strength of the position of citizens. Finally, we will answer the question on how GIS oriented neighborhood websites can be implemented so they have the highest potential by citizen satisfaction.
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The Neighborhood Through The Looking Glass

The neighborhood is becoming an increasingly important frame of reference for Dutch government policy. (WRR, 2005) First the neighborhood is the place where societal problems and challenges become visible. The plan ‘krachtige wijken’ demonstrates a renewed focus on the neighborhood within the broad frame of the larger cities. Also local governments increasingly make policy based on neighborhoods.

Second the neighborhood is the living environment of citizens. Social en physical qualities of a neighborhood are of influence on the involvement of citizens and the degree of integration in society and their attitude towards the government. Therefore the importance of the neighborhood is mostly termed by social cohesion. (WRR, 2005) A diminishing social cohesion would contribute to an increase in anonymity, displacements, insecurity, well-being and trust from citizens towards the government. A possible answer to these problems could be found in a strengthening of small-scale connections in which people interact daily and in which their interaction with the government regarding day-to-day politics is given meaning. Citizens are able to be actively involved in these matters but often lack the motivation to do so. (WRR, 2005) The largest challenge here is to make sure citizens on neighborhood level have a ‘feeling of belonging’, ‘active participation’ and ‘co decision’. Citizens, in several ways have the opportunity to organize themselves and participate actively to change or strengthen their neighborhood, in order to influence local policy on their neighborhood.

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