Voices at the touch of a button: citizen participation via voice messages

On behalf of the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing and the District Office Mitte of Berlin, we implement digital citizen participation: The project "Voices at the Push of a Button" collected ideas via voice messages for the new city hall of the future in Berlin-Mitte.

Cities are breeding grounds for social change – both due to their high population density and their diversity. Urban spaces and neighborhoods are rapidly becoming experimental and learning spaces for social, cultural, technical and economic innovations. Increasing conflicts over land use call for a productive and understanding-oriented debate between the various interest groups in order to jointly develop sustainable solutions for living together in the future.

We are convinced that strengthening participation on the ground not only leads to sustainable urban development, but also contributes to a trusting culture of discussion and cooperative networking. After all, the major urban policy challenges of the future can only be overcome by working together. Viable solutions for sustainable urban development require close and democratically organized cooperation between all stakeholders.

We use special multi-actor formats such as the Trialogues ® of the Berlin Governance Platform in our urban development projects to network actors from politics and administration, business and organized civil society, and academia. For the synergy of city-related research and urban society actors, we thereby organize a systematic exchange in order to develop new approaches to solutions and to explore joint options for action.

Model project House of Statistics

After more than ten years of vacancy, the site on Karl-Marx-Allee is being developed for the common good – jointly by civil society and the public sector. Over the next ten years, the new city hall for the Mitte district of Berlin will be built here, a city hall of the future.

Voices at the push of a button makes citizens' voices heard. Literally. From 18.01. to 12.03.2021, citizens were able to make their voices heard via the website www.stimmenaufknopfdruck.de directly into the conversation about the new city hall for the Mitte district of Berlin. 

The citizens were asked to contribute their ideas to the design – from questions of architecture and interaction with the administration to the design of the town hall as a public place with symbolic character. The process formed the basis for the subsequent architectural competition in the further planning process. The neighborhood, the future users of the city hall, experts, founders of the initiative and the pioneers of the model project "Haus der Statistik" as well as the entire urban society were addressed.

In addition to the PR activation by the demand side, accompanying articles in the local press and social media, mailings to residents, and a video display on site ensured the necessary attention. The submitted voice messages were then analyzed using social science methodology and visually processed. The results were also presented in a series of short podcast episodes set to music. True to the motto: Voices at the push of a button.

Voices at the Push of a Button is a joint project of the Berlin Governance Platform, the ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin eG and the media agency FREIHEIT Group GmbH on behalf of the District Office Mitte of Berlin and the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing.


2020 - 2021


ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin eG, FREIHEIT Gruppe GmbH media agency

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