New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program was designed as an initiative to encourage the citizens to investigate, clean up and help redevelop brownfields in the area. A brownfield is any real property where redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a contaminant. A brownfield typically is a former industrial or commercial property where operations may have resulted in environmental contamination. A brownfield can pose environmental, legal and financial burdens on a community.
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.
Since 2002, the city of Grenoble, France, has engaged citizens in public decision-making through participatory committees and town meetings. Residents have been able to express their opinions and make recommendations on city planning, education, cultural life, and other municipal issues. Over the years, this program has strengthened local democracy and empowered public participation in important civic projects.
The financial and economic crisis, of which we have heard so much discussion since 2007-8, is only one aspect of a whole series of underlying political trends which have been apparent for much longer: a crisis of (in)equality and of increased precarity of the workforce, a human rights crisis, a demographic crisis, an ecological crisis, a crisis in civil liberties, and above all a crisis in democracy.