Great project; needs only a few adaptations

Cidade Democratica is a very good idea. Its webpage is simple and intuitive. The concept of the project and its implementation are simple and pratical, like all great ideas. Cidade Democratica uses digital tools to gather people, collect impressions from them and classify what they are saying. And that's the strength of the project: connect people with similar ideas in order to create advocacy groups.
However, I feel that Cidade Democratica can do more out of its webpage so as to form stronger and more active advocacy groups. To me, the problem of the webpage is that it's too open and lacks some guidances. I sure like open platforms, but sometimes your gains in scale does not make up to your focus. My point is that when you allow everything and offer no guidances, you sometimes lose focus. And when the objective is to create advocacy groups, one must have focus. I believe the project is going to be even more successful if it manages to guide people's energy whenever a topic emerges. When someone says that there's too many plastic bags in the world and this problem gets a considerable number of supporters, the project should incentive this group by guiding them towards a more concrete and tangible object. My example was based on a real problem appointed: "Too many plastic bags in the world" (yes, in the world) is the third most supported problem appointed within the theme "environment". If the project does not point out a tangible problem (e.g. "supermarkets use too many plastic bags"), one cannot think of a serious proposal for that problem. Of course, this does not mean the project should guide people's contributions from the very beggining. I believe the guidance should appear only when some vague problem (or solution) becomes popular. In sum, I believe Cidade Democratic should think of ways of transforming vague topics into something concrete. After all, it may not be a coincidence that the success cases mentioned by the founder of the project are as specific as a bicycle master plan.
Another problem I feel is one that is always found in Internet-based project: as the people who participate are the ones with Internet access - which means middle-class or very rich people -, problems concerning poor people rarely shows up. Sanitation, for example, is a huge Brazilian problem, but it does not appear in the tag clouds. It is so because people with Internet access do not have problems with sanitation. Fortunately, the founder of the Cidade Democratica explained he intends to expand awareness of the project towards poor parts of the cities. That's great news, because only by including vulnerable groups in the project, their issues will be seriously considered.


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