DEMOTEC

Democratic Society are working on DEMOTEC which is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project that will probe the role of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in fostering greater and more informed citizen participation in policy-making in a period of increased polarization and alienation from the political process. DEMOTEC focuses on citizen engagement in European regional and urban policies, combining in-depth research on participatory budgeting and mediated deliberation in the public sphere with real-world experiments.

The project involves a multidisciplinary methodological approach, applying innovative methods including experiments, computational text analysis of big data, representative surveys, framing and discourse analysis, and case studies in six-seven urban communities across Europe: Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Scotland.  

DEMOTEC consists of a mixed consortium of academic, media and citizen engagement partners. The consortium places strong emphasis on the co-creation of democratic innovation and knowledge with policymakers and communication with a variety of stakeholders throughout the project, including public authorities at all territorial levels, journalists, civil society organisations and the general public.

The overall objective of DEMOTEC is to investigate whether and how participatory budgeting in regional and urban development policies can lead to greater and more informed citizen participation in policy-making and engage citizens that feel disconnected from political and policy processes. The specific objectives of the DEMOTEC projects are:

  • to analyse the determinants of effective citizen engagement in PB for regional and urban development policies (EU and domestic);
  • to investigate the discourse on participatory budgeting of regional and urban development policies in the public sphere, via its representation in online news and social media;
  • to apply different deliberative methods in practice, including piloting PB experiments and conducting PB events using digital technologies that involve different citizen groups, in regional and urban development policies in seven urban authorities across Europe;
  • to identify lessons for effective and efficient methods for citizen engagement – specifically, increasing public awareness, understanding and involvement by citizens and the media in regional and urban development policies;
  • to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and exchange of experience on democratic innovations among practitioners between countries and authorities at different levels;
  • to draw conclusions (for both theory and practice) and recommendations for policymakers to improve citizen engagement in regional and urban development policies, including a policy handbook and policy guidance for applying deliberative methods (and specifically PB) to support replication across Europe at EU, national, regional and urban levels; and
  • to promote awareness around the participatory budgeting process and project results among EU citizens and wider stakeholders through effective communication and dissemination.

The DEMOTEC project will assess how and to what extent the democratic innovation of participatory budgeting can lead to greater and more informed citizen participation in policy-making and engage citizens that feel disconnected from political and policy processes. In particular, the project aims to provide novel theoretical and empirical findings on participatory budgeting and democratic decision-making, develop practical tools and capacity for practitioners, and produce timely policy recommendations at different government scales.

Our (Democratic Society's) role will be focussed on participatory budgeting experiments and events through training, support, design and implementation across the seven case study authorities in Europe through applying different participatory and deliberative methods in practice that involve different citizen groups.

  • to apply different deliberative methods in practice, including piloting PB experiments and conducting PB events using digital technologies that involve different citizen groups, in regional and urban development policies in seven urban authorities across Europe;
  • to identify lessons for effective and efficient methods for citizen engagement – specifically, increasing public awareness, understanding and involvement by citizens in regional and urban development policies;
  • to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and exchange of experience on democratic innovations among practitioners between countries and authorities at different levels

Further information

For further information about this work, please contact Annie Cook annie@demsoc.eu

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