Civic Lab Barcelona’s Living Charter

Civic Lab Barcelona is a community-based interactive space that aims at connecting citizens, civic innovators, technologists, community groups, and entrepreneurs with civic tech initiatives. We strive to empower them to work together, exchange ideas and tools to build comprehensive solutions facilitating change towards a reformed and open governance.

Table of contents


Chapter I: Preamble

Civic Lab Barcelona (CLB) emerges from a need in the local civic tech community for a space to collaborate, share knowledge and information as well as connecting active citizens and different tech initiatives in Barcelona, in order to build collaborative politics, together.

Civic Lab Barcelona thus bridges two dynamics: on the one hand civic tech initiatives, which use software to positively impact democracy but lack interconnection, and on the other hand social movements with the idea of general assemblies, which need an overarching structure to magnify their legitimacy and long term impact. As a result, Civic Lab Barcelona is a space through which Civic tech endeavors and democracy enthusiasts come together united.

We aim to offer citizens the opportunity to join a community space that is ultimately designed to rekindle interest in democracy, and fight political apathy and absenteeism. Civic Lab Barcelona wants to be the reference for Civic Tech initiatives in the city, to shortcut all projects that seek to foster direct democracy.


Chapter II: Purposes

Civic Lab Barcelona is a community-based interactive space that aims at connecting citizens, civic innovators, technologists, community groups, and entrepreneurs with civic tech initiatives. We strive to empower them to work together, exchange ideas and tools to build comprehensive solutions facilitating change towards a reformed and open governance.

Civic Lab Barcelona is meant to be a transparent, online and offline, platform open to everyone. Our purpose is to create a horizontal meeting space for people of all backgrounds to come together to share and produce knowledge. We want to host events based on interaction, engagement in thought-provoking conversations, and the exchange of ideas to spur action. At Civic Lab Barcelona we believe that sharing ideas and bringing people together will foster the creation of new ideas and tools that can have a positive impact on society.

Article 1:

The purposes of Civic Lab Barcelona are:

  • To be an online and offline platform that bridges citizens’ entrepreneurs and constituents with Civic Tech initiatives;
  • To connect and empower the local Civic Tech community to exchange knowledge, and collaborate to build comprehensive solutions gearing towards a more direct and participative democracy;
  • To fight political apathy and rekindle interest, and foster critical thinking and action in regards to democracy;
  • To give citizens the opportunity to participate in a data driven democracy, in the public decision making;
  • To be a public think-tank, and more, a public do-tank, a nexus of information designed to spur the co-creation of the tools we need for the change we want to see.

Chapter III: Principles

In pursuit of the purposes abovementioned, Civic Lab Barcelona, and its members shall act in accordance with the following principles:

Article 2: Transparency

Civic Lab Barcelona needs to comply with the values it aspires to. Thusly, each of its activities needs to be transparent. We believe in open source values and want to be an example of what we yearn for political governance to be.

Article 3: Openness

We believe that effective political change needs to be be bottom up. In this regard, Civic Lab Barcelona is open to everyone who wants to participate, share their knowledge and who is interested in strengthening the civic tech environment in Barcelona. We need to open up the circle of civic tech experts in the same way that we aspire participative democracy to consider all constituents’ viewpoints.

Article 4: Horizontal

In line with the previous values, we believe in a horizontal organization of Civic Lab Barcelona. We consider every member or ’active citizen’ of the CLB important and with an equal right to participate.

Article 5: Amiability

We believe in positive collaboration and aspire to foster supportive spirit between Civic Lab Barcelona’s active citizens. All of Civic Lab Barcelona’s activities are to be undertaken in a respectful and all-inclusive environment.

Article 6: Non affiliated

It is crucial to state that our initiative is strictly nonpartisan. We believe political views are personal and are not part of the debate we are creating. We are focusing on the structural impact of political systems, not politics.


Chapter IV: Approach and methodology

Our approach is to jump from ideas to concrete action. Connecting citizens while building social capital generates a community that fosters engagement. Participants are more informed and become active parts of the initiative they are essential to, engaging with others in the community. They are exposed to local undertakings, and get to meet and exchange with others.

The impact of Civic Lab Barcelona is societal. Our interactive community, based on social relationships combines both online and offline platforms to further empower citizens to become the change they want to see unfold.

The long term impact is deeply rooted in the idea that the creation of an informed and interested citizen base is meant to have a lasting effect on the political sphere. Addressing the issues at hand and shedding light on tech and social skills serves informational and awareness raising purposes, but is also meant to actively provide tools for change. The ultimate goal is to give citizens the opportunity to further take part in public decision making.

Finally, in a bottom up perspective, we need to believe that social change must come from below. A grassroots movement has the ability to be heard and create the tools of change. Thus, in that regard renewing interest in politics and creating an informed citizen base has the potential and the ambition to go beyond the community and reach the political sphere.

To do so, our methodology is to federate Civic Technologies initiatives and active citizens through different events, debates, conferences and workshops, in order to foster civic engagement and further their impact on the long run. Thus, we are creating a social collaborative online and offline space based on learning, sharing and creating.

Our methodology lies in three key steps:

  • First, we are using the strength of pre-existing civic tech skills and infrastructures to unite them and multiply their impact. We want to organize events to showcase their efforts and share the ideas.
  • Next, we rely on technology to share content on a larger extent. We need to relay all our physical activities online. Thus the network we are creating will be available online through a digital map of the civic tech initiatives in Barcelona.
  • Furthermore, by creating an informed citizen network, we want our events to orientate themselves towards participative workshops and brainstorming sessions to develop working groups, necessary to create tools concerning a certain topic after having been exposed to it.

We believe in a virtuous circle of new ideas and action, whose co-creation comes from feeding off of existing civic tech material and experts.


Chapter V: Membership

Civic Lab Barcelona is open to everyone who commits to the previously mentioned Principles and wants to contribute, in any form, to the growth of local civic tech scene. Therefore, we welcome all active citizens who want to become a part of Civic Lab Barcelona community.

There are three levels of involvement:

  • Active members,
  • Active citizens or supporter,
  • and democracy enthusiasts.

In order to become an active member of Civic Lab Barcelona community, interested parts and organizations should contact us by email at hola@civiclabbcn.es as well as subscribe to our newsletter. We consider active members the organizations that have expressed their interest and/or participated in our events.

We also welcome all active citizens (individuals, experts, civic tech enthusiasts) as an important part of our community. Supporters are individuals helping us to create, strengthen, and develop the local civic tech environment; people who collaborated with Civic Lab Barcelona in a project, helped or participated in CLB event.

All our active members and supporters are mentioned on Civic Lab Barcelona website in the “Community” part (TBC).

Last but not least, Civic Lab Barcelona’s community also relies on democracy enthusiasts, who take part in our events, assist our workshops, and construct the dialogue.


Ratification and signature

Civic Lab Barcelona’s charter will be ratified on monday, 27th of July 2016. This living charter is meant to be interactive and modifiable by its community, even upon ratification, as we learn, create, grow, and impact together.