Innovative cross-linking of participation models

Category: Civil Society

Challenge title

Innovative cross-linking of participation models. Information – Cooperation – Networking


We are looking for innovative and inclusive digital tools and functions that enable participation processes “bottom-up”, think along interfaces with other actors from urban society, business, science and enable cooperation with representative local democracy and the city administration.

In two model areas, the tools for the two thematic areas of “joint project development” & “exchange and networking” are to be tested together with civil society and urban actors.

Which tools support this and in what way?

Challenge description

The definition of democracy is currently being renegotiated in many discourses. Among other things, it is a matter of testing new forms of democratic processes that meet current and future challenges. Innovative analogue and digital participation processes, especially those with a high degree of interactive co-determination and co-production, play a special role in this.

For the implementation of formal and informal participation processes in spatial/regional and urban planning, there is currently the participation portal at the state level (Free State of Saxony) and at the municipal level DIPAS is being tested using the example of Matthäikirchhof Leipzig.

In civil society and the start-up scene, various digital solutions are emerging in parallel to support participation and empowerment approaches for civil society actors. Community-based development and the creation of interfaces to and for public institutions / municipalities play a special role in all that cases.

Both approaches – participation opportunities through public institutions and new solutions from the start-up scene for bottom-up processes – are to be brought together.

The added value for civil society actors as well as intermediaries (e.g. citizens’ associations, neighbourhood management) are in the fact that the submitted contributions provide them with an overview of digital solutions for supporting their work, which can be further developed to fit their local problems.

The added value for the city is in obtaining a transparent overview of different solution approaches and thus being able to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches.

For all participants on the side of the challenge provider and the potential start-up / idea provider, there is also an opportunity to qualify possible technical interfaces to existing participation platforms in Leipzig as well as Saxony and to obtain information on setting up or further developing their own solutions.

Vision / Expected Result

Together with stakeholders from two areas in Leipzig, the city of Leipzig would like to obtain a market overview of digital-analogue solutions for strengthening civil society exchange, engagement and co-production in the context of bottom-up processes in urban development and discuss possible interfaces for expanding the city’s own participation infrastructures. In addition, suggestions can be taken away for the exchange with participation platforms that exist throughout the country.

As a result, the solutions are to be tested as models in two areas of Leipzig. During the trial period, insights into technical and social requirements with regard to co-creative processes are to be gained.

On the one hand, it is about the digital support of project development from within the district itself, with the aim of subsequent financial support within the framework of so-called disposition funds “Verfügungsfonds” or other available funding opportunities. (Link to disposition funds are available in German under section further information).

On the other hand, it is about digital networking and exchange opportunities between civil society actors as an integral component within a web presence on the focal point. 

In both cases, development and testing should take place in close cooperation with local actors. An explanation of how democratic processes are strengthened by the technical solution should be provided and the interfaces to local representative democracy (e.g. city council, city district advisory council) and the city administration should be considered.

Aspects to be considered:

  • motivation and activation of communities (e.g. through gamification, social media)
  • intuitive usability both for people who want to get involved and for the civil society and public institutions that initiate participation (administration options with different authorisation levels and moderation tools). This means that it should be easy to use even without in-depth ICT knowledge. The target groups will be defined together with the local actors during the development phase.
  • Online and offline participation are conceptually thought of together. The intersection of digital and analogue formats (appointment announcements, etc.) are important.
  • Clear and simple presentation of process information, e.g. traceability of the process, results and subsequent actions.
  • Opportunities for interaction and communication.
  • Opportunities for collaboration.
  • Open source solutions are preferred.
  • Presentation of costs, follow-up costs as well as technical knowledge for operation, transfer of knowledge about the tool in organisations. The tools and / or platforms should be able to complement each other in a modular manner.

ICT security and data protection regulation are of particular concern to all actors and therefore play an essential role.

Thank you for your interest in the Smart City Challenge Leipzig 2021.