Assessing the Potential of Digital Collaborative Sharing Platforms in Fostering Neighbourhood Participation Through Volunteerism
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This paper seeks to discuss whether and how digital collaborative sharing platforms can foster citizen engagement in urban neighbourhoods by addressing various challenges experienced by local initiatives. To that aim, we conducted a case study in the Saupstad neighbourhood of Trondheim in Norway. Our case study includes qualitative interviews conducted with volunteers and general managers of a selection of central volunteering initiatives in Saupstad where we aimed to map the current state of neighbourhood volunteerism, and identify the challenges experienced both at the individual and organizational level. We also involved stakeholders in a co-creative dialogue meeting to discuss and develop scenarios to overcome the identified challenges and foster citizen engagement in volunteering activities. Based on the empirical data we collected, we have identified challenges centralized around the interrelated themes such as ‘volunteer motivation’, ‘volunteer recruitment’, ‘effective dissemination of information’ and ‘collaboration and communication with local actors’. In this paper we discuss to what extent collaborative platforms can address these challenges and be utilized to foster citizen participation.