Panel Discussion "City in the internet: life online and offline" Panel Discussion

Moscow, 16 October 2015, Moscow Urban Forum 2015 — As a part of Moscow Urban Forum 2015, Hall B of the Manege Central Exhibition Hall hosted the panel discussion "City in the internet: life online and offline". The session was held under the supervision of the Habidatum Project and with the participation of Anastasiya Rakova, Deputy Mayor of Moscow in Moscow Government, Chief of Staff to the Moscow Mayor and Moscow Government.Chris Moore, founder of the World e-Governments Organisation of Cities and Local Governments, Chief Information Officer of the City of Edmonton (2008–2014), Canada, acted as a moderator.

 

During the panel discussion the panellists determined characteristic features of modern cities: dynamic nature, cohesiveness, variety, and their dependence on progress in the IT sphere. In the experts' opinion, an environment generated by accessible information and varied online communication tools these days acts as a full-fledged layer of urban life, and this factor cannot be discounted when organising and managing urban processes.

 

Currently, electronic services constitute an extension or expansion of the megacity's physical space, and its residents ceaselessly switch between online and offline versions of urban services.

 

The Forum's panellists are confident that development of online resources for urbanites, public service portals, and electronic tools involving citizens in city management is to become one of the prime trends of the urban policy.

However, programmes for development of online services face new challenges. While in the past stress was placed on improvement of individual services, we now need to speak of a full-scale online environment and place issues of harmonious development of the city's online and offline space at the forefront.

 

Major activities aimed at achieving this goal are a concerted development of services in the format of integral strategies, unified standards, and ecosystems; provision of comfortable online-offline transition and vice-versa; and also adjustment of the online space to meet the needs and practices customary in the real-city context.

 

Anastasiya Rakova, Deputy Mayor of Moscow in Moscow Government, Chief of Staff to the Moscow Mayor and Moscow Government, said that 5 million people in Moscow are using public services and more than 50% of these services are provided to citizens via the electronic channels. A part of business services is fully converted to digital format, including those involving the issues of land use and construction, which are typically the most corruption-prone and costly areas. This is the reason why these services are provided exclusively in electronic form.

 

According to Anastasiya Rakova, the project "My City", which allows Muscovites to express their opinions on any initiative put forward by the government authorities, is unique as it provides an opportunity to discuss any management decisions by refining these decisions to the level of each courtyard. For example, now the trees are planted in those courtyards, where such initiative was voted for by the citizens.

 

Final theses of the panel discussion "An e-Home for the City: Life at the Meeting Point of Online and Offline":

— Over the past 2 years, the payments made through the city portal increased by 10 times. In this period, the payments amounted to 5 million rubles and the entire amount is processed by the banks in order not to lose a single kopeck;

— At first, Muscovites were reluctant to accept the use of electronic payments but, in the end, this allows to save our time and reduce costs. Despite all this, in Moscow, the centres where the people and government can communicate offline will not be closed for the next 15 years;

— Not all the topics are equally interesting to discuss by each of 12 million Muscovites. For that reason, we need to select the right audience for discussing each particular issue.

 

The Moscow Urban Forum is being held under the auspices of the Government of Moscow with Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin present in person. The Forum is organised by ANO Moscow Urban Forum. The Moscow Urban Forum was held for the first time in 2011. The Forum was planned to be a venue for dialogue, where the authorities, experts, investors, and business representatives could openly discuss new challenges, trends, and key events of national and global urbanism and city planning. Over the years, the Forum has become a reference point for new projects and initiatives of the Moscow Government directed to all-round development of the megacity, stimulating quality changes in our capital city and spreading the best practices across the country and globally.