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Citizen Participation in the European Metropolis of Lill...

Citizen Participation in the European Metropolis of Lille, France

During the metropolitan council meeting of December 18, 2015, elected officials voted on an umbrella decision related to citizenship. As a result, the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) has adopted an ambitious goal: to involve the metropolitan citizens in their public policies in a broader way; develop projects together. The MEL has proposed different mechanisms of citizen participation for

View of Lille, France City Hall

During the metropolitan council meeting of December 18, 2015, elected officials voted on an umbrella decision related to citizenship.

As a result, the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) has adopted an ambitious goal: to involve the metropolitan citizens in their public policies in a broader way; develop projects together. The MEL has proposed different mechanisms of citizen participation for the following:

  • Public policies and prospective discussions;
  • Large metropolitan projects;
  • Neighborhood development projects; and
  • MEL public service delegations.

Proposing Innovative Citizen Participation Mechanisms

In order to involve its citizens and enrich its projects with their real-life experience of space, commonly called inhabitant user expertise (l'expertise d'usage des habitants), the MEL is going to put into place new methods for direct dialogue.

For example:

  • The “agora’MEL” moments of exchange organized at the MEL headquarters;
  • The “Fabriques de projets” (project factories): mobile workshops in its territory; and
  • “MEL à l’écoute de ses habitants” (MEL listens to its citizens) meetings in the municipalities about the MEL’s public services.

There are also plans to develop digital tools for consultation to increase access to the proposed participation mechanisms: surveys, polls, proposal forms, forums, and more.

Alternate View of City Hall in Lille, France

Working in Harmony with the Communities

The participatory approach of the MEL will be in synchronization with the ongoing efforts in the municipalities of the metropolitan area undertaken by neighborhood councils, citizen councils and other forms of direct democracy.

The MEL will also support municipalities in the implementation of the citizenship component of urban policies (la politique de la ville), namely the creation of citizen councils and of the houses of projects (maison du projet), which will act as spaces of information and dialogue in the neighborhoods.

Involving the Youth

The MEL is the youngest metropolitan area in France, with 28% of its population younger than 20 years old. Therefore, youth participation ought to be facilitated.

The MEL welcomes budding citizens, as part of a class visit or as part of a municipal council of youth, to attend presentations about the metropolitan institution, its capacities and its operation.

For the 16-25 year-old, consultation tools will be adapted. Prizes to finance local youth initiatives or a “Créajeunes” (creative youths) systems to facilitate setting up projects will be organized.

“Consulting on Citizen Participation!”

The December 18th deliberation defined the strategy. The next step is to elaborate an action plan. Beginning in 2016, the MEL will propose a participatory approach to define, together, the means that will facilitate the expression of citizens during the preparation of its projects and policies.

How is citizenship defined in your community? In what ways are you able to participate in your local government? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Carmen Phillips is a graduate of Oberlin College and is currently pursuing her masters in French Translation at Kent State University. Carmen spent the last year in Lyon, France teaching English to primary school children and had the opportunity to i...

  • Melchor Peiro Guerrero

    Hi!. I live in Culiacán, Sinaloa, México. In our city we use to promote some surveys and forums in order to make people get involved in public affairs. Its not easy -it hasn´t been since years ago- yet we try year by year to find new o better ways to put Citizen Participation in a regular, daily practice mode. We have had to really fight our authorities and the Mayor so they are accustomed to only speak and speak (even media keep echoeing ONLY their proclammations) when people is looking for more action and less words. Our legal frame allow people to participate in making proposals for public buildings and public spaces, but they make only fake events pretending Citizen Participation is present just to finally make things the way they want. WE NEED MORE AND MORE URBAN EDUCATION TO PUT CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE, SO WE CAN REALLY REACH “THE RIGHT TO THE CITY”. Greetings from Mexico to theglobalgrid.org, to Renee Van Staveren and to Carmen Phillips too.

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