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.
Note: Anna Wohlfarth co-wrote the initial Participedia case on BürgerForum Europa.
The Citizens’ Forum is a new form of participation developed by the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Ludwig-Erhard Foundation and the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation. It is a 6-8 week online deliberation embedded in two live events, one at the beginning of the process and the other one at the end. This article describes the second edition of the Citizens’ Forum Europe.
In respect to the question of why participatory innovations are gaining support and what stimulates their development, democratic innovations are usually seen as a response to the general dissatisfaction with representative democracies. Since their main target is to supplement democracy and improve its quality, both citizens and governments in the West tend to be interested in participatory innovations.
Berlin-Lichtenberg is a borough in Eastern Berlin, comprising of 251,000 residents and 13 districts. In 2005, under Mayor Christina Emmrich, a new participatory budgeting exercise was launched that continues to this day. It involves regular online and face-to-face exercises in which citizens can make and evaluate suggestions for how to spend the borough’s €31 million discretionary budget. Yearly reports are made on which suggested local projects have been accepted or rejected and reasons for the decision taken by the council.