In 2019, citizen participation was bigger than ever before.

Across the world, governments and citizens alike are discovering the true value of the co-creation of local policy and the impact of constructive dialogue on communities. At CitizenLab, we couldn’t be happier with this evolution! We’ve had an eventful year full of collaboration and participation, and are bursting with excitement about the year to come. But first, let’s take a look at 5 remarkable cases that shaped 2019.

1. Artificial Intelligence to save the planet: Youth4Climate 🌿

Responding to Greta Thunberg’s call, young people from all over the world took to the streets at the beginning of the year. We accompanied the Youth4Climate movement in Belgium to channel this energy and gather ideas to save the climate. In just a few months, over 1,700 ideas were posted on the platform. These comments were analyzed using artificial intelligence and turned into 15 actionable climate priorities, which were then handed over to the government. 

2. The first digital referendum ever in Flanders, Belgium: Kortrijk as a pioneer 🇧đŸ‡Ș

Kortrijk was the very first city in Belgium to host a digital referendum. The key question was: â€œDo you agree that the centre of Kortrijk should be car-free for a fixed Sunday every month?”. For one week, citizens aged 16 or older could vote online to let their voices be heard. Ultimately, almost 10,000 citizens participated, of which 57% voted against a car-free Sunday.

3. Eyes on the future: climate action in Grand Paris Sud, France đŸ‡«đŸ‡·

Earlier this year, Grand Paris Sud, an inter-communal structure south of Paris, launched three simultaneous citizen participation projects on the climate, cycling, and culture. Now, they have decided to revisit their approach and take additional climate action. An open call for green and clean projects led to a total of 16 laureates competing for the Climate Prize Grand Paris Sud. +5000 citizens voted for their winner: the placement of school gardens.

4. Constitutional reform in Chile: nation-wide citizen consultation đŸ‡šđŸ‡±

Following a deep crisis and several weeks of demonstrations that shook the country, the Association of Chilean Municipalities launched a national consultation on constitutional reform. In less than 48 hours, more than 2.4 million votes were received. CitizenLab supported 7 municipalities in this consultation. The citizens’ response was clear: 91% of voters voted in favour of a new constitution.

5. A spirit of co-creation: large-scale ideation in Leuven, Belgium 🇧đŸ‡Ș

The city of Leuven launched its very first participation project to gather ideas on the city’s strategic planning and set priorities for the strategic multi-annual plan (2020-2025). In total, over 3,000 citizens raised their voices. With a total of 2,331 shared ideas, they shifted the conversation towards the domains of mobility, public space, nature and biodiversity, housing and sustainable development.

Ready to set up a citizen participation project in your municipality in 2020? Our experts are happy to guide you through the platform.

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