The Democratic Society AISBL
Across Europe, cities are experimenting with participatory democracy, in budgeting, in planning and in city services. Too often, those experiments are small-scale, disconnected and fail to transition from experiment to mainstream. The City Democracy Incubator will find and connect city experiments in democracy. It will increase their impact, help places learn from each other and create European models for urban democracy, to act as the foundation for a networked European democracy infrastructure
Already signed up: Antwerp, Falun (SE), Mannheim, Lisbon, Bolton, Ghent, Messina. More to come.
EU democracy needs to start where people live. People should take the stage locally, knowing their voices carry beyond their communities to Europe. This project helps build a foundational network of local participatory structures, locally designed but learning from each other and interconnected.
At least 12 cities in the network, more joining, working with at least one other to advance replicable local democracy ideas. EU conversation on a significant issue conducted through those networks, with issue impact demonstrating potential for networked democracy. Forward financial plan.
We will identify clusters around key challenges or innovations, and cities will join one or more clusters. Each cluster will have a work plan for the year. We have initial network, ideas and commitments from World Forum on Democracy in November. The funding will support networking and connecting the clusters, developing practical processes, and building a link into European level institutions. It uses and increases impact of existing projects.
We've been working on democracy at every level for over ten years, and we're convinced that the levels need to work together, and local is the place to start. We see with concern how little participatory experiments in local gov have translated into system change. Making that happen is our mission.
Enthusiasts: citizens who want to get involved in issues beyond their immediate locality but don't know how.
Reluctant Europeans: people who don't understand the EU, to bring it closer to them and show they can influence it.
Local innovators: city council staff who are trying to create new ideas
Practical ideas for the big problems and opportunities that clusters should address. Ideas for other cities to approach, or great examples of local democracy activity.