Citizen participation enriches. When the best solution for all is sought together, a city and its residents benefit. In addition, all those who get involved can gain practical experience in the field of democracy. But civic participation only works, says monika nickles from the city of erlangen’s office for civic participation and volunteering, during her presentation at the civic lab on hauptwachstrasse, if the framework conditions are right.
The political will to implement citizen participation is indispensable for its success. "Only then", the speaker confirmed in the city’s press release "it can work". The new mayor florian janik has brought a breath of fresh air. He was keen to establish citizen participation in erlangen.
According to nickles, genuine citizen participation goes far beyond the legal framework. In this way, votes from significantly more target groups could be collected and contributed. In erlangen, "middles" will be commissioned and paid to attract, for example, long-term unemployed or migrants for civic participation. In addition, the speech must be chosen in such a way that it is well understood by the citizenry. Nickles recommended that only qualified moderators be used at citizens’ meetings.
For those who want to realize citizen participation, nickles recommended thick skin, a long breath and the "courage to make mistakes. But it pays off. "Good processes" and the more people are convinced that citizen participation makes sense, the greater the willingness to get involved. In addition, citizen participation is "living democracy": participants experience that it can be useful to raise one’s voice. Finally, it would give the administration a human face: citizens would experience that it is not something abstract, but consists of acting people