Local citizen participation in Lusatia

AUTHORJulian Kilchling, Katja Treichel, Prof Dr Gesine Schwan

Participation at the municipal level can play an important role, particularly in the context of the coal phase-out and the associated structural change process in Lusatia. By enabling local citizens to participate effectively, municipal participation can not only strengthen acceptance for the transformation, but also for representative democracy as a whole.

Various participation formats have already been trialled and in some cases consolidated in a number of Lusatian municipalities. These processes were initiated by various actors, such as committed mayors, but also by civil society organisations and actors from the business community. As part of a qualitative study, these existing municipal participation processes in Lusatia were evaluated together with representatives of individual municipalities and opportunities and challenges for municipal participation in the context of structural change were filtered out. The key question was which formats are best suited to promote long-term municipal development in Lusatia and participation that increases self-efficacy, while at the same time integrating these into overarching contexts, obligations and agreements in a coherent manner.

The results were recorded online in a participation atlas accessible to the general public (available at viz.governance-platform.org/beteiligungsatlas-lausitz). The report compliments the interactive participation atlas and summarises the key findings of the study.