11 governance innovations in European cities

by University of Gdańsk


Last month, University of Gdańsk published their Deliverable 3.1: Initial Report, disseminating the results of the desk-based research on twenty case studies on the existing forms of local democratic governance.

The objective of urban case studies analysis is to exemplify responses to different challenges to liberal democratic governance processes and evaluate them. The crisis of the public sphere that has been going on for decades has called for an already long list of methods and techniques aimed at restoring its essential role as a real-virtual space mediating communication between the political and social spheres. Works conducted within the frame of Work Package 3 - Case Studies contribute to learning from the past - i.e., gaining insight into the existing and already applied methods, processes, and tools to support citizen participation in local democracies.


From the initial list of 20 case studies considered for research, final list of 11 different governance innovations introduced in different cities and countries was agreed. The selected for deep going investigation different local settings, where innovations in participatory and deliberative democracy have taken place, will help to reconstruct the variety of ways in which innovative and experimental governance practices emerge as well as identify the main actors, actor groups and strategies involved.


The list of governance innovations in different places includes:

  • Barcelona: Community Balance

  • Berlin: Quartiersmanagement Pankstraße

  • Budapest: The Office of Community Participation

  • Copenhagen: Citizen’s Assembly

  • Galway: Citizen Jury

  • Gdańsk: Participatory Budgeting

  • Helsinki: District Liaison Officers

  • Reggio Emilia: Quartiere Bene Comune

  • Wigan: Deal for Communities

  • Võru County: Social Hackathon

  • Wrocław: Citizen’s Assembly and Intense Social Participation in Cultural Policy


A detailed comparative analysis of the case studies is conducted with the use of a two-step procedure of data collection, consisting of four parts altogether. It has already begun with desk-based research of the existing documents (part I) and media content (part II) related to the selected case-study participatory and deliberative processes. Once the first step is completed, it will be followed by field research designed to provide all relevant information missing from the existing sources of information. In this second step of data collection, two qualitative research methods will be employed. Community Reporting (part III) will serve to investigate the experiences of local communities engaged in or affected by the case studies. Next, this bottom-up perspective will be complemented with a polyphonic account of different groups of urban actors gathered during Focus Interviews (part IV).


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