Light Houses City Portal Project

1. Evolution of City Portals

Everybody think that e-government program is an expensive and requires a lot of investment in the computers, database, LAN, and public key infrastructure. However, most of the advantages of the e-government can be gained by the creation of simple City Portal using Light House open-source platform. Usually City Portal evolves along the following phases:

Phase1: Several departments or units in the city government create a website for their own. No coordination efforts are taken place.

Phase2: City government took an initiative to create an information dissemination city portal which covers all the services of the city and Portals are categorised according to the Citizen’s needs and not by organization.

Phase3: City government put all the application forms to the Portal so that citizen can download the various application forms, instructions and public procurement information documents through the Portal site.

Phase4: City government creates an interactive Portal so that the Citizens can also participate in the content creation and put questions and opinions.

Phase5: City Portal includes the services and activities provided by community groups, NGOs, Private companies, and different levels of governments so that the Portal to be a comprehensive life guide for the citizens.

Phase6: City government identify various duplications and inconvenience of the government services and try to streamline the administrative procedures, creating one-stop shops.

Phase7: Citizens can make transactions through the Portal site, such as registration, certification, procurement bidding, paying taxes through the website.

In the above seven phases, expensive computer system and public key infrastructure is necessary only in the seventh phase. Most of the merits of the e-government initiatives can be achieved in the first six phases.

According to the policy survey conducted by Light Houses Policy Study Taskforce, out of 53 cities responded to the question, 15 cities are still in the Phase 1. 26 cities started an on-line e-government transaction, but among these cities, only 4 cities has successfully streamlined the administrative process through e-government.

In addition Light Houses City Portal has the knowledge sharing functions among participating cities and international organizations:

1.     In the global forum of the Portal site, best practices and case studies of the participating cities are shared among all cities.

2.     Policy tutorial and policy diagnostic program is being developed (not yet completed) for every Categories related to the city services. So that you can follow these programs to plan your city’s Information Society strategies.

You can start the e-government in your city from tomorrow using the open-source Light Houses City Portal!

Light Houses Policy Study Taskforce Members _____________________________________________________
Xabier Abaroa
Executive Secretary "World
Summit on the Information Society"
CENTRO CIFAL BILBAO European Bank for Reconstruction and Developmen

Motoo Kusakabe
Senior Counsellor to the President,

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Yuri Misnikov
ICT Advisor
United Nations Development Programme

Jayanta Mitra

Professor of Business Enterprise and Innovation

University of Essex, U.K.


Jeoung-Keun Lee

Senior Capacity Building Specialist

Asian Development Bank Institute


Ramón Peñagaricano

Senior Advisor for International Relations World Summit of Cities and Local Governments on the Information Society, CIFAL Bilbao


Daniel Rouach

Professor, ESCP-EAP (European School of Management), France


Tadao Takahashi

Chair, Latin America and Caribbean  chapter, UN ICT Taskforce


Ivar Tallo

Director, e-Governance Academy, Estonia

Creating a City Portal through Light Houses

Step0. Planning of City Portal

Creating a City Portal using Light Houses platform is easy. However, before you try, you need a careful planning. Please look at the Light Houses standard categorization of city level services in the website and consider how you can adapt to the needs of your city. Discus the following important issues;

-        What is the scope of the city portal?

-        How to organize various services according to the needs of the citizens?

-        How to get cooperation from various stakeholders inside and outside the city government?

Step1. Register the Name of your City/Municipality

In order to create a Portal Site, you must be duly authorized position in your organization. Please provide all the information in the Light Houses website:


Name of the City/Municipality

Acronym: Put three Alphabets from your City/Municipal Name



Name of the Contact Person

Title: Your Title, such as IT manager

Address: Your Office Address

Postal Code

Country of Contact

Tel: Your office telephone number

Nickname: Put any Alphabets and numbers to identify yourself

Password: Put any Alphabets and Numbers




Step 2. Creating Sections and Categories

You are going to define the Sections (Large titles: written in brown colour) and Categories (Small titles: written in black letters) which are suitable to your city's service program.

Please click "Step2:Creating the section and categories" in the following table. You will be led to the Category Definition Table as in the next page. If you define one section, color of the section will change to blue. You need to work on all 9 Sections and make sure all the colour of the Sections are turn into blue.

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Citizen's Life
Citizen's Registration()
ID Card()
Health Insurance()
National Tax()
Local Tax()
Drivers License()
Fees and Penalties()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Life Events
Birth/Baby Care()
Child Care()
Youth Development()
Buying/Renting a House()
Care of Eldery People()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Nursery/Kinder Garden()
Primary Education()
Secondary Education()
Vocational Education()
Life-Time Learning()
ICT Education()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Child Health Care()
Adult Health Care()
Health for Elderly People()
Communicable Deseases()
Health for Mothers()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Employment/Job Searching()
Starting a Business()
Incubator/Science Park()
SME Support()
Venture Capital Fund()
Angel Networks()
Entrepreneurship Training()
Technology Transfer()

Knowledge Sharing Website for Cities & Local Governments

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Municipal Infrastructure
Waste Disposal()
Energy Conservation()
Environmental Protection()
Public Safety()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Social Inclusion
Community Information()
Election/Polical Party()
Civic Engagement()
Volunteer Activities()
Gendar and ICT()
Disabled People()
Minority/Indiginous People()
Civil Society Organizations()
Conflict Prevention()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Information Society
Information Society Strategy()
Publc Information Centers()
Digital Signature/PKI()
ICT Cluster()

Step2:Revising the section and categories
Regional Development
City Development Strategy()
Urban Renewal()
Urban Amenity()
Rural Development()
Administrative Reform()
Preventing Disaster()



You are led to Category Definition Page. You can define your own Section and Category names. However, in order to share knowledge with other partners, it is advisable to define Categories within the broad range of the Section defined as a standard case.

If you want to keep the current Section and Categories in the Standard case, click "KEEP This Section." You need to create all 9 sections.







You can modify the Section and category names..

1. If you want to keep all Categories in this Section as it is, please click "KEEP ALL"


2. If you want to modify the Categories in this Section individually, please fill the next forms


Standard Section Name


New Section Name




Standard Category Name


New Category Name



















Contributor's Profile:












 Step 3. You can create links to global categories ..

In order to share your contents with other partners and tap global contents, you should create a link to global category through this page. If you have not changed the Category name, they are automatically link to a global category which is used in the standard case. When you have created new Categories or changed the wording, you must create new links for such modified categories.


This is the old Category you have modified

This Category was originally linked to the global Category below



Fees & Penalties 


Fees & Penalties 


You have created the new category

1.You can link to one or two of the categories below or can create new links to global categories










1. If you want to keep old link below 

2. If you want to create new links to global categories

Put one alphabet which has not yet taken in the blank
New CategoryID:66



In the above example, Bilbao administrator, John Smith has changed the name of the Category, "Fees and Penalties” into “Payment of Traffic Penalties” to more clearly define the Category. However, as for the global category which is closest to the new Category is still the same “Fees and Penalties”. So John selected the same Category 668 “Fees and Penalties”.


If John defined the new Category “Registering a pet”, then there is no relating Global Categories in the list. So he must create a new Global Category, which have the same name “Registering a Pet” and have a different Category ID. So he must choose one of the alphabet “a” in the box next to 66 and push the “Create” button.

Step4 Putting your City Portal published


So far, your City Portal’s framework has been completed. At this moment, you have to inform the administrator to set up your city’s directory in the central server. You can access to the portal through the Light Houses website . Alternatively you can go to the Light Houses Homepage and from the header you click “Cities/Municipalities” and go to any partner city’s Website. If you do not like such a long URL, you can acquire your city’s URL and we will use the URL to host your site in one of the Web hosting service companies. We recommend you to use the central service at the initial phase. By the way, NetGrowth is the non-profit organization composed of several leading universities to promote open-source knowledge management system and creating a E-Learning contents in the field of ICT development strategies. This Light Houses knowledge sharing system has been developed by the


Step5 Collecting Contents to the Portal


Contents development is the evolutionary and participatory process, which is the most important part of the initiative. You can start with the most basic information, such as:


  1. Ask all the departments and sections in the city government to go to the Categories which are related to their responsibility and register the Unit to the “Organizations” forum of the category. This information will provide the basic information on which units are doing what and contact information.
  2. Ask all the units in the government to put two or three most frequently asked questions from the citizen on their area of responsibility and put such questions and answers in the “FAQ on Services” forum.
  3. Ask major hospitals and schools to register their information to the relevant Categories page. This will provide which hospitals are working on holidays, which doctors to go in the case of emergency.
  4. Ask all the schools and universities to send their information and explain the visions and unique characteristics of their institutions. Ask students and parents to contribute their comments on these institutions.
  5. Ask all the units in the city government to upload all the application forms and written guideline in the relevant Category “Downloads”.


These are only a few examples. You can gradually broaden the support network of the City Portal and many people and organization will find merits in publishing their information on the City Portal.