The +CityxChange Follower Cities (FCs), Alba Iulia, Písek, Smolyan, Sestao, and Võru, recently published the Report on community participation and playground results, in collaboration with partners from Space Engagers, Colaborativa and Officinae Verdi.
One of the core objectives of the +CityxChange project is to activate local stakeholder knowledge and resources towards the creation of Distributed Positive Energy Blocks (DPEBs). In this report, the FCs outline how they have adapted and applied principles of CommunityxChange throughout the project, based on the experiences and lessons learned from Lighthouse Cities, Limerick and Trondheim, and their own background.
Key lessons and recommendations from the municipalities’ experiences in community participation and engagement initiatives are as follows:
- Informative sessions: Organizing informative sessions on various topics, such as community, city, sustainability measures, renewable energy, and localizing SDGs, is crucial for citizen education and awareness.
- Continuous communication & transparency: Maintaining open and continuous communication with citizens, along with transparency in decision-making processes, helps build credibility and trust. Sharing open data further enhances transparency and enables others to replicate successful initiatives.
- Face-to-face activities: Proactive engagement through face-to-face activities, narrative tours, and gamification demonstrates a genuine interest by the municipality in connecting with citizens and fostering meaningful interactions.
- Stakeholder diversity: Involving a diverse range of stakeholders, such as private companies, universities, residents, youth organisations and community groups, is essential for facilitating effective and sustainable change within the community.
- Feedback & improvement: Collecting feedback from citizens after each community collaboration and co-creation event is important to continuously improve the quality and impact of such activities.
- Centralizing open calendars: Consideration should be given to utilizing an online tool for sharing calendars, future community participation initiatives, and engagement plans. This can help streamline communication and ensure accessibility to information for all stakeholders.
- Local heritage & culture: Recognizing and valuing the cultural heritage and traditions of a community can foster a sense of pride and ownership among residents, making them more likely to support and actively participate in sustainability efforts. By integrating local heritage and culture, municipalities can leverage traditional knowledge, practices, and architectural styles that align with sustainable principles. This approach not only preserves the unique identity of the community but also showcases the compatibility between cultural heritage and climate action.
By implementing these lessons and recommendations, municipalities can enhance their community engagement strategies, foster citizen participation, and drive positive change within their communities.