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Citizen-centred innovations between responsive and inclusive democracy.: Examples from a Swedish city.
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Centre for Urban and Regional Studies. (Center for Democratic Government in Change)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9599-7776
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (Centre for Urban and Regional Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5486-8273
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (Centre for Urban and Regional Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7737-5850
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Representing all citizens, as well as their needs and interests within its territory, municipalities have a unique role in setting a legitimate policy agenda. In times of economic recession, fiscal austerity becomes a huge challenge for local governments to tackle. This challenge has triggered experiments with new forms of citizen-local government interaction.

In some of these experiments citizens have been invited to participate in decision-making or implementation, and new forms of “participatory engineering” have become commonplace, including dialogue forums in social media and elsewhere (Zittel & Fuchs 2007). Citizen participation has been loudly praised by decision-making authorities when it comes to area based interventions and broader programs. There is a belief that including citizens will increase efficiency and legitimacy of government as well as social capital among citizens.

Other experiments are focusing on providing the best possible service with a focus on quality and citizen needs rather than participation or on institutional innovations (Graham, 2009) for alleviating citizen-government interaction.

The prospects, aims and outcomes of these experiments raise a range of normative, theoretical and empirical questions. In the light of recent literature on social and democratic innovations, the purpose of this paper is to scrutinize two cases of citizen-focused innovations in the mid-size Swedish city of Örebro. The first case is the establishment of a citizen service center where all local government citizen interaction is gathered in one location both physically and virtually. The second is a case of neighborhood renewal, where the municipal housing company plays a vital role, involving residents in the planning process, and offering opportunities of employment. The study contributes to the broader conceptual discussion about citizen-focused innovations and critically discusses the prospects of applying these with regard to citizens with limited resources. To put it brief, are they tools for democracy or rather cases of tokenism?

References

Smith, Graham (2009) Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen

Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zittel, Thomas and Fuchs, Dieter (2007) Can Participatory Engineering Bring Citizens Back

In? NewYork: Routledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Human Geography
Research subject
Political Science; Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-44248OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-44248DiVA: diva2:805006
Conference
Local Government and Urban governance: Citizen Responsive Innovations in Europe and in Africa. Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 9-10 April 2015
Projects
Örebro kommuns servicecenterMitt gröna kvarter - utvärdering
Available from: 2015-04-14 Created: 2015-04-14 Last updated: 2015-07-09Bibliographically approved

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Kristianssen, Ann-CatrinGustavsson, EvaElander, Ingemar
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Citation style
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