Last week, Network chair Beth Simone Noveck announced the launch of a new research initiative at the GovLab aimed at increasing our understanding of how technology can enable citizen participation in the lawmaking process. The CrowdLaw Research Initiative comes at a time when “rates of trust in government [are] at all-time lows, the legitimacy and effectiveness of traditional representative models of lawmaking, typically dominated by political party agendas and conducted by professional staff and politicians working behind largely closed doors, are called into question.”
The Crowd.Law website, launched last week, features a number of resources related to more participatory approaches to lawmaking, including:
- An in-depth analysis and explanation of CrowdLaw
- Short case studies of 25 global examples of CrowdLaw initiatives;
- A Twitter list of leading thinkers and practitioners of CrowdLaw;
- A bibliography of Selected Readings on CrowdLaw;
- In-depth design recommendations for designing crowdlaw processes and platforms; and
- Model language for legislating public engagement in lawmaking.
The launch of Crowd.Law also coincides with a new series of activities facilitated by Noveck and the GovLab team, such as:
- The Madrid Regional Assembly and the Madrid City Council workshop on CrowdLaw, together with the GovLab at NYU and the Harvard Study Group “The challenge to design a technological Agora” designed to investigate potential pilot projects on CrowdLaw for lawmaking at the local and regional level in Spain;
- The research for the city council of New York City to map how a bill becomes a law and how it is implemented, in an effort to assess the benefits and risks of greater public engagement, conducted by the GovLab and multi-disciplinary students from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in Governing the City.
- The Rockefeller Bellagio Conference Center in Italy in March, to explore the theory and practice of public engagement in lawmaking and to set standards for data collection and sharing by parliaments practicing crowdlaw to enable evidence-based research.