Rosemary travelled to Palermo, in Sicily, for the Apps4Dummies workshop jointly organised by the Muncipality of Palermo and Citadel on the Move. The Municipality of Palermo launched an open data policy two years ago, which has proven highly successful as evidenced by the large amount of data available on its website. Palermo is currently looking at extending Citadel to surrounding areas so this workshop provided an excellent opportunity to promote the initiative to regional actors.
The event began with numerous talks by leading proponents of the open data movement in Sicily including the Mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, and Citadel’s Jesse Marsh who gave a comprehensive and clear demonstration of the Citadel platform, going through each stage of the application creation progress and taking questions from the audience.
Following the talks, a participatory workshop took place where locals were given the opportunity to learn how to create applications from their own datasets. The workshop provided valuable insight into problems faced by citizen developers with little or no technical background, when using the platform, providing insight into the many ways in which we can work to improve the general usability of the website. Additionally, it raised issues about the application of environmental data to the Citadel format, which is interesting to take into account considering the large interest in Citadel from a number of local environmental agencies including the Regional Environmental Protection Agency that is conducting pilot open data studies in Palermo and nearby Bagheira on air and water quality.
Overall, it was a great afternoon and a wonderful opportunity to see Citadel in action.