LOSLAND – Shaping Future Locally
Within the LOSLAND project, we were able to support ten municipalities across Germany from March 2020 to May 2023 in developing and implementing tailor-made participation processes for a future fit for our grandchildren. We also created cross-municipal exchange and reflection spaces and collected extensive data as part of the accompanying research.
Working together for a future fit for our grandchildren
In the ten cities and municipalities, LOSLAND engaged local politicians, administrators and citizens to develop participation processes fit for purpose and supported the municipalities in their implementation. Sortition-based Citizens‘ Councils played a central role in these processes. We selected ten communities and cities with motivated mayors who wanted to break new ground with their residents. Citizens in the LOSLAND municipalities had the opportunity to bring their perspectives, ideas and knowledge about their locality in order to contribute to an active and cooperative political culture.
The starting point was the question: How can we shape a future fit for our grandchildren here at home? With the concept of suitability for our grandchildren, LOSLAND focused on the future – a future that is tangible for everyone and concerns all generations: grandchildren, parents and grandparents. The specific questions for the LOSLAND processes were developed individually in each community, starting with a participatory planning phase.
1. Planning Phase
At the beginning, a steering group from the municipality is put together. Together with the LOSLAND team, this group develops the format and questions for the participation event(s) and plans their implementation.
2. Future Council
This is the heart of the process. The participating (randomly selected) citizens consult on the question posed to them by the city or municipal council. With the help of a professional facilitation team, they draw up recommendations for the politicians.
3. Future Forum
The recommendations of the Future Council are presented at a public event. In a relaxed atmosphere, all citizens of the municipality are given the opportunity to discuss the results and enrich them with their own thoughts.
In the final step, the steering group deals with the question of how the results of the participation events should be incorporated into political decisions, administrative processes or new projects by and with citizens. The city or municipal council publishes a declaration and provides information on which new projects can be initiated and which ideas can be pursued further.
In the LOSLAND film, participants in the Future Councils, those involved in municipal administration and politics and the LOSLAND team talk about why they took part, what LOSLAND has achieved for them and why they are keen for more sortition-based participation:
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Watch the LOSLAND film here. Subtitles in English are available.
The LOSLAND network
The film shows that LOSLAND was not just ten participation processes on site. The creation of spaces for exchange and learning was central – for local participants, for the four facilitation teams and, at the concluding conference in the Futurium, also for actors in municipal and national participation practice.
The diverse answers and ideas on how sustainable democracy can emerge and look through local citizen participation form the basis for the further development of LOSLAND.
LOSLAND from a scientific perspective
Who are the people who participate in Citizens‘ Councils? What effects do Citizens‘ Councils have on the participants? What effects do they have on politics and administration?
As a model project, LOSLAND offers unique conditions for research into dialog-oriented citizen participation. An accompanying research group collected data throughout the course of the project in order to investigate these and other questions. The data from the observation of the meetings, interviews with those responsible for the process and anonymous questionnaires from participants in the LOSLAND Future Councils are currently being analyzed, and interested researchers have the opportunity to work with the collected data.
If you are interested in LOSLAND or have any further questions, we would be happy to talk to you. You can reach the LOSLAND team at kontakt(at)losland.org.