When citizens choose not to participate in volunteering geographic information to e-governance: a case study from Mexico

Frida Güiza, Neil Stuart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Citizen participation is a crucial democratic practice in many western societies. In contemporary societies, different social agents utilise information and communication technology using Internet-based systems, to establish two-way communication in order to promote citizen participation. One such approach is volunteered geographical information (VGI). It is considered that VGI provides a new space for citizen engagement, as well as an arena for political contestation, however little attention has been paid to the reasons, drivers and limitations for voluntary citizen participation. Although there is an extensive literature on both VGI and citizen participation, this rarely considers how much citizen participation is necessary to run a VGI platform, what are the drivers for non-participation, and what happens within a democratic political space when citizens are apparently not interested to participate with a VGI deployment These topics are explored in this paper, through the lens of a particular case study of a University deployment for VGI developed in Mexico and a wider analysis of other VGI deployments taken from the literature. By critically assessing the extent to which the VGI deployments have enabled citizen participation, and the degree and quality of this participation, we draw conclusions as to how far and under what circumstances VGI can support government agencies to engage citizens in a meaningful dialogue as part of democratic governance initiatives. This leads us to identify key areas for further research by geographers and related social scientists exploring these socio-technical systems and their effects on democratic societies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2017


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