Public engagement: Do we really engage?

On the 12th of December 2019 at 2PM (CET), CityxChange, represented by Kieran Reeve (Limerick City and County Council), participated in the joint webinar hosted by Triangulum on “Citizen Engagement in Positive Energy Districts”. More than 30 participants, from all across Europe, joined the webinar to discuss and share experiences with citizen engagement in the different Lighthouse Cities.

Speakers and topics were:

  1. May Endresen (Greater Stavanger): “How to make invisible projects visible for the citizens.  The Stavanger Triangulum story”
  2. Marieke van den Weijngaard (Woonbedrijf, Eindhoven): “Tenants in Charge. Organising it digital”
  3. Guest speaker from +CityXChange: Kieran Reeve (Limerick City and County Council), “Public Engagement: Do we really engage?”

In his presentation, Kieran Reeve, introduced the challenges that Limerick has with the historical building stocks in the heritage area of the city, where most of the buildings are more than 200 years old and are protected by national law. He introduced Limerick’s vision focused on – but not limited to –  creating a resilient city by increasing the use of clean energy sources; repopulating the historic city centre by making it more attractive; new Smart Community Cooperation / Participation Models across all sectors.

On public engagement, the presentation focused on reasons that motivate people to get engaged, principles of engagement and types of engagement and bringing it back to +CityxChange with a few general comments on how are we dealing with the co-creation process  within the project. A few remarks were made especially in the traditional ways of public involvement processes, where the focus is mainly on informing the citizens instead of making them part of the development process, instilling in this way a sense of ownership.

Some actions that Limerick is using to engage citizens in the participation processes within the +CityxChange project, were introduced. They range from designing a coherent social media campaign strategy, definition of clear message on what to communicate to the general public, using simple visualizations to explain complex terminology, innovative event format, providing open data platforms, etc.

If you are interested to learn more, a recording of the webinar can be found here. 

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