Active citizen = investment in the future

The statutory city of Hradec Králové has enough experience with so-called "hard" investment projects. But even "soft" projects cannot be underestimated. For this reason, I consider it very important that the city continuously and systematically improves its capabilities in the field of community programs funded by the European Commission. This, very often so-called "soft" money can lead to improved processes by transferring "know-how" from other European cities. One of these opportunities is the involvement of the city in the URBACT networks, which are an example of how experience can be transferred from other European cities in the field of citizen participation and activation.

Based on previous experience with the PROSPERITY project (Horizon 2020), we were given the opportunity to become part of a network of eight European cities in the Active Citizens network. This network focuses on the participatory process and public involvement in city decision-making. I consider participation in any project to be effective only if it leads to practical results and to the improvement of specific processes in the city. This assumption was fully fulfilled in this project, as Hradec Králové is aware of the shortcomings in this area. A systematic effort to improve has just been supported through the network and the Active Citizens project.

 

The first prerequisite for success is the interconnection of project activities and processes that are being prepared. This has happened mainly in two areas, namely the area of transport, where the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is currently being prepared, and the area of city development, where the Strategic Plan is being updated. Both processes require significant interaction with the public. Thanks to the Active Citizens network, we managed to prepare activities that methodically enabled the public to participate in round tables in the discussion of these documents.

 

 

It must be emphasized that one project does not change all procedures at once, but it can already be said that the project has started the processes and made the participatory agenda a topic that spans across different agendas and ultimately leads to intensified public involvement processes. Participation is a word that sounds at round tables and among experts, which is a significant shift. Hradec Králové is a beautiful city and a larger share of public in the discussion of new projects can enrich it and develop it in the coming years.

Submitted by Barbara Gautherie on 05/05/2022
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Barbara Gautherie

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