Highly Citizen Territory
Generally speaking, France has a representation crisis. Democracy must be redefined in order to place citizens at the heart of public action, giving them the means to express themselves, to express ideas, to participate. In 2014, the first "Citizen Forum" was organized. This two-day event brought forth valuable exchanges, with 19 workshops on local issues whose goal was to invent new ways of living together.
The approach continued. In 2015, the city of Mulhouse joined the program "Highly Citizen Territory," supported by the "Open Democracy" association, in order to ensure a democratic transition. Mulhouse is the first experimental area for the method of creating a new mode of governance based on creating participatory spaces for true co-construction of the city.
The goal is to create a dynamic of continuous improvement of democracy in the area by enhancing democratic practices, designing a shared medium-term vision, enabling a strategy to move towards the realization of this vision and collectively experimenting with co-decided actions. Naturally, an evaluation device is provided. Evaluations will be conducted by citizens, experts and external experts with a view to determining the real effects of actions on territory citizenship.
The first action is to open up spaces for citizens. Children, teens and elders can, for example, ask to integrate ad-hoc councils. Commissions have been open, like "Priority Security Zones," "Handicap," "Finance." Naturally, a call was made for citizens to join the citizen council or the Sustainable Development Council.
The second action is to contribute to local community life through the platform "Mulhouse Is You," which is a digital collaboration tool for information, consultation and cooperation. Citizens can give their views on urban projects and submit their ideas in a "suggestion box". Once an idea has obtained 250 votes, the city agrees to examine it. This platform can reach the community and engage with others to improve living together in Mulhouse.
The process, initiated in 2015, is in a consolidation phase. In 2016, a citizen participation agency was created in order to mobilize more Mulhouse inhabitants. As a result, a community of citizens who are committed to living better together is in the process of forming in Mulhouse.