Re-shaping cities requires new ways of involving citizens in the development and maintenance of city services, intending to leave no one behind. According to the census in 2011, 13,317 people with disabilities (PwD) live in the Kragujevac area (8.8% of the total population). In the Nis region, there are 13,934 PwD (7.7% of the total population). Analysis performed by civil society organizations, academia and relevant institutions in the two cities, pointed out different issues affecting people with disabilities in their everyday work. Infrastructure is not constructed taking into account people with disabilities so that it ensures their access to local institutions, city hall, courts, educational and cultural institutions, healthcare centers.
This group of citizens is not sufficiently involved in the urban planning and development of the cities, which need to take into consideration their needs.
The general goal of the project is to observe habits and understand the needs of people with disabilities in cities and to co-design systems and activities which contribute to improving the quality of life through greater accessibility. This has happened through the creation of two citizen participation platforms, Consul, initially targeting people with disabilities. Secondly, after a testing phase, these platforms will be open for uploading project proposals in various other sub-sectors, such as transport, energy, waste management etc. The application of new IoT technologies ensures the effectiveness of the web-based platforms as well as the establishment of creative urban co-designing labs, which aim to identify the most serious issues faced by targeted end-users. The project would ideally result in a vision of the city that promotes mobility and accessible infrastructure which takes into account people’s needs and is citizen-centered, while also being climate-smart and resilient.
The City of Nis has expressed interest in using the Consul platform in the future for involvement and empowerment of citizens in the process of systemic city transformation, starting with the “Future cities of southeastern Europe” ClimateKIC initiative. The platform will provide an inclusive approach to information-sharing and decision-making. The City administration plans to use the digital platform to better understand citizens’ needs, perceptions and actions and how they value different approaches. This is of particular importance since any decision or action of the City administration has a major impact on the state of the community and peoples’ livelihood.