Why Santa Maria Da Feira took part to Active Citizens Network ?

Edited on 24/02/2022

It was in February 2019 that Santa Maria da Feira participated for the first time in an Open Day organized by the national point URBACT, which allowed to know and deepen the objectives of this European program and to initiate contacts for the integration of a local project in the area of ​​participatory democracy.

The participation of the Municipality in an URBACT project has been coveted for some time, considering the European partnerships it makes possible, the tools for empowering the administration it shares and the sustainable and integrated urban development of the cities it promotes.

The URBACT national point was essential to put Santa Maria da Feira in contact with European cities that were outlining applications in this area, namely Agen, in France, which expressed interest in integrating Santa Maria da Feira territory in its application, based on the average size of the city and its location, in addition to the recognized experience in terms of participatory citizenship.

Santa Maria da Feira has a considerable history of multiple inspiring practices of citizen participation, but also of multisectoral collaboration, such as the Young Mayor, the Children's Assembly, the Parish Social Forums, the Senior Forum and other initiatives, such as the intervention in Rio Uíma, the ‘Escola a Mexer’ educational project, citizen participation in culture, the Banco de Tempo managed by citizens and the Bolsa Local de Voluntariado platform, which testify to the multiple initiatives and dynamics of local programs for citizen participation in the territory.

Once these inspiring examples in the sphere of civic participation have been consolidated, the Municipality of Santa Maria da Feira now intends to explore and enhance the dimension of participatory democracy, namely in the different areas that involve participatory urban planning in the construction of the territory that, until now, has been limited to the requirements of the law. The integration of the Municipality in the Active Citizens network of the URBACT program constitutes a concrete opportunity to improve existing practices, but also to explore new creative directions, such as the joint design and planning of the city.

From the very beginning, Active Citizens has proved to be a motivating project for all those involved, above all because it is open, under construction, providing free thinking to citizens, step by step, in articulation with policy makers. The priority of the working group is to listen, co-create, integrate valid proposals and define the role of each one in the different processes.

As a project under permanent construction, Active Citizens continues to test strategies and responses to encourage the active participation of citizens in local politics, based on a collaborative process between citizens, administration and elected officials, using face-to-face meetings and communication technologies, without exclude those who are distant from the decision-making process.

Written by Maria do Rosário Meneses

Submitted by admin_import on 24/02/2022
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