In August, our pilot city Voru has organised an inter-regional exchange webinar on democracy innovation between:
from City of Helsinki on "The City of Helsinki's example of the implementation of an inclusive budget and its results"
from Tallinn University on "Has local government outlived its time and what are the challenges of future local government?"
Below are the reflections of our Community of Practice member, Kadri Kango, who has been residents of both Voru and Helsinki:
"The main dilemmas are about how to find balance and safety between the stability of known actions and flexibility to adapt to an unknown future. What is a good governance in this situation? How do institutionalize experimentation with new approaches and ways of coordinating our shared livelihood in (rural) communities? Kersten Kattai from Tallinn University raised an interesting and relevant dilemma (screenshots below) about the difference between citizens' topographic and topologic areas of actions and perceptions. But how does it relate to the current logic of local municipality which is bounded strongly by geographic area, not the dimensions where the real life of each citizen is happening (also virtual space)?
One recommendation is not to afraid of the problems and challenges, but to see them as seeds of the future. For that, it is crucial to create a shared understanding and engage all kinds of resources and assets (besides money and rules, also knowledge, life experiences, cultural heritage, landscape etc) to open the arena for better solutions. It requires trust, openness and curiosity to build relationships and networks that fit the changing circumstances. We have seen good examples of experimentation with co-creation and citizen engagement in cities (like Helsinki), but what about rural regions, where density, variability and connectivity of knowledge and other resources are lower because of geographical and demographical characteristics? Also, engaging the natural environment and rural lifestyle as a source of new knowledge isn’t something common in these discussions, but should be if we want to create context-sensitive solutions.
Rural areas don't have to copy the cities and be laggards with them. Rural areas have to remain valuable and sustainable sites of our society not only because of natural resources and food but for securing the plurality of societies that ensures sustainability in general."
This webinar is organised in preparation for Voru's social hackathon event Vunki Mano, to be held from 23-24th September. The hackathon seeks to answer the question: How to govern in such a way that increases the public participation in the local community?