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Why is citizen engagement important?

Explore why a citizen-led response is important for dealing with the complex problems we face as a society.
People planting and children drawing in an urban garden,
© RMIT Europe, EIT Community and New European Bauhaus

Contemporary challenges such as pandemic resilience, the green transition, and inclusive design underscore the complex problems we face as a society.

A citizen-led response to these issues is important because it:

  • allows action and change at a local level (on a street and in a neighbourhood) that can contribute to a wider global transformation
  • creates multiple levels of interconnections which have the potential to be reapplied across different structures
  • engages different competences and knowledges in transdisciplinary conversations toward meaningful transformation projects.

NEB and citizen-led responses

Again, returning to the New European Bauhaus, we can observe how these levels of engagement are enacted through multiple channels:

Place

  • adopted a citizen-led decision-making process to identify which issues need to be addressed and what local assets and resources were available to support that endeavour. This ensures transformation projects are meaningful to those on the ground and harnesses pre-existing resources.

Practice

  • a multi-level strategic approach that connects streets, neighbourhoods, villages, and cities. The NEB encourages locally connected life through concepts such as the 15 minute city and walkable and cyclable neighbourhoods and the reinforcement of community connection through local festivals and cultural activities.

Experience

  • inclusive diversity is built into transformation projects through its Design for All strategy. This ensures a wide range of knowledge, needs, motivations and experiences cross-fertilise the solutions for site-specific change and provides inclusive access to built and virtual environments, goods and services.

Further reading

If you would like to explore some of the concepts we have covered in more detail, the following resources are optional.

An Integrative Socio-Technical Enterprise Approach to Urban Design/Planning for Sustainable Development.

Everyone Should Feel At Home: The Pitfalls and Possibilities of Inclusiveness.

© RMIT Europe, EIT Community and New European Bauhaus
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Fostering Inclusive Citizen Engagement in Urban Development

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