“City Democracy Incubator” joins the shortlist for Advocate Europe!

Advocate Europe is a challenge to find unconventional and transnational ideas that respond to Europe’s present challenges, covering different fields such as civic education, arts and culture, social innovation and advocacy. The initiative is realised by MitOst and Liquid Democracy, funded by Stiftung Mercator.

This year 475 ideas were submitted from 42 countries, with 31 of those ideas selected for a shortlist.

The shortlisted ideas are each in with a chance of securing grants of up to €50,000 and mentoring to implement their ideas – and we’re delighted to share that the idea we submitted for a “City Democracy Incubator” is one of them!

You can view the full shortlist here: https://advocate-europe.eu/ideas/

The next step is to send representatives to an ‘Idea Challenge Camp’ from April 25th to 29th 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine. We’ll peer review the ideas and be inspired by other experts coming from all over Europe. Two members of the Demsoc team – Anthony Zacharzewski, Demsoc founder and President, and Francesca Attolino, our Italian Network Lead – will attend this incredible networking event.

A brief introduction to the City Democracy Incubator

Across Europe, cities are experimenting with participatory democracy, in budgeting, in planning and in city services. Too often, those experiments are small-scale, disconnected and fail to transition from experiment to mainstream.

The Incubator aims to:

  • Find and connect city experiments in democracy and increase their impact;
  • Help places learn from each other;
  • and create European models for urban democracy to act as the foundation for a networked European democracy infrastructure.

Demsoc has already started some work to explore these ideas, but now we’re looking forward to taking the next step. This project helps build a foundational network of local participatory structures, locally designed but learning from each other and interconnected.

Our idea is to start locally, where people live, in order to reconnect this level to the European one. We’ve had interest from some cities and we hope there will be many more to come.

Behind this proposal there’s already an initial network, ideas and commitments from the World Forum on Democracy that takes place annually in Strasbourg in November.

At the challenge camp and beyond, we’ll be looking out for practical ideas for the big problems and opportunities that clusters in the proposed Incubator should address, ideas for other cities to approach, opportunities for collaboration, and some great examples of local democracy activity.

Let us know what you think by tweeting @demsocBXL or by emailing brussels@demsoc.org – we encourage you to share the idea to help us reach a wider audience too!