A Better Debate About What’s Built Where: What We’ve Learnt So Far

A Better Debate About What’s Built Where: What We’ve Learnt So Far

Deciding what gets built where is often an intensely fraught subject of debate, as Greater Manchester’s Spatial Framework consultation showed. Space in Common is a project exploring whether a better quality of debate is possible on this subject in Greater Manchester. To start the discussion off, we brought together a small group with a stake in this issue from a range of different standpoints to talk about their experiences of this topic and to start thinking about what a better conversation might look like. What did we learn? It’s currently really hard to…Read more

Space and Heritage, to build Democracy.

By Ivan Tornesi The conceptual meaning of the Greek words that compose Democracy are δῆμος and κράτος, people and power. They have come to mean that all citizens, no one excluded, have the right to exercise participation to influence, control, take part to decisions, elect and be elected, with the aim of obtaining the best form of government. Yet is that the life we live today? The current state of Italian and European democracy’s health is strongly affected by the crisis of large mass parties and in general intermediate bodies. Those channels, which…Read more

Bruegel Annual Meeting – The Missing Link

by Anthony Zacharzewski I spent this morning at the Bruegel Annual Meeting, kicking off the autumn with economics and geopolitics. Several high level speakers talked about the EU’s future economic policy and geostrategy (armies, hard power, soft power and so on), but for me there was a critical missed connection. It was clearest in the economy panel. The speakers talked about the impact of the Trump presidency on trade, how Brexit was going to damage the EU and the UK, and the importance of acting at regional and local level on skills and…Read more
GM Democracy Hub

GM Democracy Hub

Last Wednesday, Demsoc Manchester hosted the first Greater Manchester Democracy Hub, with The Politics Project. Aiming to identify, map and connect everyone working in the Greater Manchester region to improve democracy in innovative ways, we organised an event for those people to meet, share their work and network. Whilst there is a lot of wonderful work happening in this area, it seems that no one is aware of all of it, and even those with similar plans and ambitions haven’t crossed paths. We wanted to rectify this, as we think that collaboration and…Read more
Help create a more constructive debate about the shape of Greater Manchester

Help create a more constructive debate about the shape of Greater Manchester

  Deciding what we should build where always seems to stoke intense emotions and conflict. Greater Manchester’s Spatial Framework set out plans for how land could be best used across the city region. The resulting consultation gave voice to a kaleidoscope of different concerns and interests but generated very little in the way of constructive discussion. With a consultation on a new draft currently planned for October, we thought now was a great time to ask how we create better conversations about the future shape of Greater Manchester. You can help us explore…Read more

Networked European Democracy ready to start in Italy!

In attesa della versione italiana del sito, la descrizione del progetto in italiano segue quella inglese. In a delicate moment for Italy and its political situation, next week we will launch the first event of Networked European Democracy, an ambitious but practical programme that aims to deliver a better connection between citizens and European policy. We’ll bring discussion of relevant and current policy issues to the local level and our theme this year is the future of work and skills. This is also related to a key theme of the Festival dell’Economia 2018 in…Read more
Reflections on the European Citizens’ Panel

Reflections on the European Citizens’ Panel

Over the weekend, The Democratic Society was involved in the European Citizens’ Panel, run by the European Commission, with the support of Kantar Public (a market research agency) and Missions Publiques (a specialist citizen deliberation organisation). Bertelsmann Stiftung acted as academic experts. We helped with the design and facilitation of the event, which ran from Friday night to Sunday lunchtime, and a group of facilitators from the civil society network that we are creating on the European Citizens’ Consultation supported Missions Publiques with independent facilitation. These are my first reflections – I’m sure…Read more

Change at the Council: Independent Review of Governance for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Today, The Democratic Society (Demsoc) and the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) published a report titled Change at the Council: Independent Review of Governance for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Funded by the Local Government Association (LGA), this report is the result of months of research conducted by talking to residents, councillors, council officers and partners about the good and bad aspects of the current system, and how it can be improved. We have looked at the way that the Council makes decisions and who is involved in making those decisions.…Read more

Reflections on a three month internship with The Democratic Society

In June we were delighted to welcome Alex Hrabinová to our office in Edinburgh to begin a three-month internship, which was enabled by the Erasmus+ programme. Having now returned home to Slovakia, we asked Alex to reflect on her time spent working with the Demsoc team. You can read about her experiences below. We're always happy to hear from people interested in working in the Democratic Sector. We are able to support occasional internship opportunities, but it's important to us that the placements are meaningful development opportunities and can fit alongside our existing…Read more

Event Alert: Democracy in action? – The Place of Referendums in Scotland and the UK

The referendum is, in theory, one of the best democratic instruments around.  One person, one vote. Direct Democracy in action. Look at Switzerland! However, when we look at referendums in more detail, we can be exposed to a very different picture. Are referendums being used within a democratic culture that generates positive democratic outcomes? Alistair Stoddart from The Democratic Society will speak on a panel about The Place of Referendums in Scotland and the UK in Glasgow on Wednesday 13th September 2017 from 5.30pm.   The event has been organised by the Centre…Read more