Inhabitants of those neighborhoods were given the chance to add their ideas on things like transport and environmental protection – both online and at meetings – to a draft of the city council’s action plan for Montjuic.
Barcelona often uses inclusive processes like this to gather citizens’ input on municipal projects – a trend that is growing worldwide at city and national levels.
Recent surveys in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, demonstrate that people want, and are able, to take part in shaping urban development.
But with municipal elections to be held in May, Fernando Pindado, commissioner for democracy and active participation at Barcelona City Council, said working methods needed to be strengthened so they remain consistent, no matter which political party is in charge.
Participatory processes are gradually emerging in cities around the world, as digital technology makes them simpler and faster for local authorities to implement.
Getting them to work effectively, however, can be challenging for governments and citizens alike, said Birgit zur Nieden, a commissioner in the Senate of Berlin, which governs the German city.
In general, participatory processes are being used more at the local level because party politics are less dominant here, with cities like Reykjavik, Barcelona and Bogota pioneering the use of online engagement, Noveck said.
Barcelona City Council’s Pindado said the Spanish city had found it useful to set up an independent body to monitor citizen consultations, boosting confidence they would be protected from political interference.
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