The conflict began in 1996 when neighbors in Bellavista began to find out through a series of rumors that a highway project would cross through their neighborhood. This boiled down to an urban megaproject at a distance of more than 33km. This became a conflict due to the projected effects it would have on a longstanding and traditional neighborhood found to the north of downtown Santiago. This area is characterized as being home to artists and bohemians and features a discernible presence of restaurants and nightclubs.
The management of public space is frequently completed without incorporating the major stakeholders. This all translates into the non-appropriation of space on the behalf of neighbors. This simultaneously leads to a minimized use and neglected maintenance of the space.
To reverse this situation a major diffusion of information and communal participation is necessary in making decisions, sharing responsibilities as well as resources, and improving control by users and respective communities for more efficient management.
Under the slogan “Future Needs Solidarity. Diversity Creates Chances.”, the BürgerForum 2011 did not address any specific problem or problems; it rather allowed participating citizens to identify problems as well as solutions they deem most pressing for German society. The purpose behind this approach is three-fold. Firstly, initiators hoped to inspire citizens to be more excited about politics and democracy and instill a sense of community within participants.