We want to host WordCamp Croatia in different city every year. Hosting WordCamp Croatia should be a boost for local WordPress community in each city and by partnering with the city authorities there should be benefits not only for the community but for the citizens as well.
Rijeka will host our first WordCamp Croatia and we asked the Mayor of Rijeka mr. Vojko Obersnel couple of questions about what WordCamp means for Rijeka and even the next big Rijeka project – redesign of the city portal which will be on WordPress and will be open sourced to the community.
Rijeka is hosting WordCamp Croatia. We are really happy that you welcomed us in your city. What WordCamp means to Rijeka?
As the Mayor and also as the citizen of Rijeka I am particularly honoured and pleased that Rijeka will be hosting the first WordCamp Croatia. As for now, WordCamp Croatia is the only specialized conference dedicated to the WordPress in Croatia, and it will gather a great number of visitors from the entire Croatia and from abroad. I am so glad that this event takes place in Rijeka. The organization of such a great event is important not only for our City but also for the whole Croatian WordPress community, and also for many others who are not directly involved in this event, however they are somehow connected to the WordPress.
Specially interesting is that the WordCamp Croatia is one of several WordCamps in the world that is organized on a national level, but for its realization the involvement of local community is vital. Rijeka appeared to be a logical and good choice, which me as the Mayor fills with great pleasure.
People in Rijeka (Fiumans) are known as open–minded welcoming people from different cultures with open arms. Is this the thing only in the past decades or is this written in the City’s DNA?
Rijeka is an open and multicultural city. Due to its geographical position, on the edge of all states that the city belonged to throughout the centuries, Rijeka became a tolerant and open community that acknowledges and appreciates the differences. This is not something which showed up only in the couple of past decades, but rather much longer. Yes, we can say it is written in the City’s DNA.
Today in Rijeka there are 21 national minorities, and the City of Rijeka counts 9 Councils of National Minorities and 24 associations gathering members of national minorities.
The City of Rijeka is involved in many international associations, and cherishes partnership, friendly and sister-city relations with some twenty European and World cities. Rijeka has always been ready to welcome people from different cultural surroundings. The Port brought us many advantages, not only in economical field but also in consideration with the differences of cultures, nations and religions. I find this openness to be the greatest benefit of Rijeka and its whole pride.
Couple of months before, Rijeka started its own open source project on WordPress by redesigning the city portal. How this happened and why WordPress?
In 2014, for the third time in a row Rijeka took the title of the most transparent city. In thinking about how to make a step forward from the point where we already are as the most transparent city through the project of redesign, and how to expand the project outside Rijeka’s framework and broaden its value, we took into account different aspects of these topics: trends of the web portals development, specific needs for savings not only in Rijeka’s Budget but in local budgets generally and the awareness that cooperation between public authorities is far more important than their competitiveness. On top of that, we thought how to better organize, systematize and make more useful to citizens a wide range and a large amount of information now available on the portal www.rijeka.hr.
As over the years, appeared the need for individual pages or sub-pages for specific city projects as a part of the main website, these smaller projects were conducted by city government human resources using open source system for content management which was available to us and which was familiar to a part of the employees, more accurately WordPress. Therefore, the question we put before us in redesigning the portal was logical: whether a large and complex site as it is the portal of the most transparent city government in Croatia can function on WordPress?
The answer to this question we sought in the Croatian Word Press community. The positive answer led us to the project. We have communicated about the importance of research of the transparency of towns in Croatia and agreed on the possibility of sharing the WordPress code made for the portal of the City of Rijeka with the open source community so that anyone could download it and in it design a page of another public administration, town or municipality. This is precisely the specific value of the project. The City of Rijeka as the most transparent city in Croatia, considers the opening of this possibility its responsibility in the context of further development of transparency in Croatia.
How the people reacted to the fact that Rijeka will open source the entire design and code of the project to other cities in Croatia?
So far, two workshops regarding the redesign of the portal of the City of Rijeka were held where this decision about sharing the code with a wider community was announced. The first workshop was attended by representatives of four cities: Pula, Knin, Zabok and Ozalj. The reactions were, of course, positive. Among other things, in order to create the final solution of the best possible quality, we dealt with the problem of accessing information on the web sites of cities, target audience and the requested information in minor as well as in major cities, and the documents that will be made publicly available after the redesign of Rijeka portal.
In addition to this, there was a workshop with citizens where participants were free to engage in discussion about the problems of the current web page, and learn about the solutions we plan to implement on the new page. This was preceded by a survey we conducted for the purpose of preparing and planning the redesign of the city portal. The idea of sharing the Rijeka code with other cities and municipalities is also supported by the Association of Cities in Croatia and GONG, an organization which for many years has been engaged in the development of transparency of public administration in Croatia.
Do you have some recommendations for people that are going to visit Rijeka for WordCamp Croatia?
Rijeka is a specific city where there is lot to see and visit. I recommend taking a walk along Korzo or Rijeka breakwater, visiting the market or taking a cup of coffee in the old city near the Archeological Park. Unfortunately, this weekend they announce rain so our guests won’t probably enjoy time on Rijeka beaches, but I believe that a visit to Trsat Castle or to Astronomical centre is also a good idea. Once more I wish all a warm welcome to our city. And of course, a lot of fun!
Thank you Rijeka once again for helping organize our first WordCamp Croatia by being a partner city to us.