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Citizens Respond to a Crisis

Post-financial crisis, the Icelandic citizenry demanded transparency within the government—a push that inspired the city of Reykjavik to embrace “electronic democracy,” inviting citizens to propose and vote for projects and priorities on a website called Better Reykjavik.

The project, operated by Citizens Foundation, later caught on nationally with the advent of a “Better Iceland” site, where everything from health care to tourism is up for input.

At Better Reykjavik and Better Iceland, people can see that they have more in common than they might have expected. “When people are allowed to express themselves and they trust that the forum is open and safe, they do find consensus,” says Robert. “It’s a good feeling, giving people access to information, and it balances out some of the power that big business and big government can have over people.”

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