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Also involvement. Providing opportunities for citizens and residents to actively engage and participate in what is happening in their place of residence. This is a top-down approach, where the public administration gives its citizens and residents the opportunity to be directly involved or to express an opinion or act as an advisory institution. There are many types of activation, e.g. participatory budgeting, surveys, public opinion polls, round tables etc.   

Citizen Assembly 

Also Civic Assembly. An institution composed of citizens that can be established on a municipal, regional or state level (e.g. Conference on the Future of Europe). The members of civic assembly are randomly selected. Its purpose is to obtain a representative sample of public opinion on certain questions and propose answers to these questions through discussions and use of various methods of inquiry such as direct consultations with experts. In many cases, civic assembly proposals are required to be accepted by the general public, e.g. through a referendum, before being enacted. The goal of civic assemblies is to restore trust in the political process by granting citizens direct influence over decision-making. For this purpose, civic assemblies intend to correct the difference of interests that arises between elected representatives and voters. 

Civic Tech 

Also E-participation: software solutions for communication between any institution or organization and a community of people. In addition to providing two-way communication, these tools also aim to ensure transparent transfer of data that can be used for further work. Each tool has specific functions and can therefore be used for a variety of tasks, such as gathering ideas, sharing news, voting on projects or reporting defects. The number of civic tech tools has been growing rapidly in recent years, so it is crucial to pay due attention to selecting the right one. 

Collaborative Design

A wide range of participatory methods that are used to involve the citizens in every phase of the preparation and implementation of the project. Examples of collaborative design tools are collaborative planning, hackathons, or various forms of public consultation. 

Collaborative Management

Any administrative process that involves state and non-state actors. Non-state actors can be citizens, civil associations, private companies, non-profit organizations, etc. Collaborative management can be conducted in various forms, most commonly through participation.


A large number of individuals contribute small amounts of capital to finance a project (e.g. product, start-up, political campaign or app development). Crowdfunding takes place mainly online, e.g. via international websites Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, or HitHit, Donio and Startovač in the Czech Republic.


A method that is used to gather information from a large number of people. This is typically done online through a form or application. 


Debate or discussion.

Democracy, Data 

Making data available to all citizens. More generally, it is about accessing data and technology as a public resource. It emphasizes that data and technology should serve people and the environment they live in.  

Democracy, Digital 

Also e-democracy: a type of democracy that uses communication and information technology (e.g. the internet) to govern municipalities (or an entire state). It is thus a form of democracy where citizens can directly participate in governance if they have access to these technologies.  

Democracy, Direct

A system of government where the people exercise their will without elected representatives. Citizens are directly involved in the running of the state. A referendum is one of the examples of instruments of direct democracy. 

Democracy, Liquid 

A type of democracy that uses direct participation of people in political processes as well as election of representatives. Voters usually have the option of either voting directly or delegating their votes to representatives who will then vote and act on their behalf. Liquid democracy combines elements of direct and representative democracy. 

Democracy, Representative 

A system of government where the people exercise their will through elected representatives. These representatives then represent their constituents.

Democratic Education 

A type of education based on democratic values. Students actively participate in the form and content of their education. It allows people to learn in the way that suits them best without a uniform curriculum for all students. 


A practice of utilizing technology to enhance corporate processes,  e.g. to automate and digitize processes that have been handled manually until now. Digitalization is an important step for a number of sectors, including state and local government. Incorporating digital technology into government and societal processes can help improve them and make them more accessible to as many people as possible. 

Connected to digitization, which is the process of converting analog information (e.g. image, text or sound) into digital format. 


Electronic government, refers to the use of information and communication technology to ensure government processes, information exchange and integration of other separate systems between the government and citizens, business-owners or companies, other governmental bodies and government employees. Unlike e-democracy, it does not allow citizens to participate directly and serves only to ensure the functioning of government processes, provide better accessibility and exchange of information. 


Public participation that is facilitated using digital tools, the internet, other online solutions or technologies. 


A process to assess the quality and sustainability of a project or a process. Its purpose is to objectively evaluate whether a project has met its objectives, how effective it has been, where problems have arisen, etc. Unlike monitoring, which only collects information on progress, evaluation is based on thorough data analysis. Evaluation must be taken into account from the beginning of the project. It is important to determine what data will need to be collected and at which point will there be an opportunity to do so. Best practice to ensure impartiality is to hire an external contractor to conduct evaluation. 


The act of planning, organizing and moderating meetings and gatherings. The aim of facilitation is to ensure a productive and impartial environment and debate, whether among project team members or the public and local government representatives. A facilitated meeting has clear rules and every participant is given the opportunity to express themselves. Meeting minutes are also included under facilitation. These entries document the course and content of the meeting or event. Best practice is to provide participants with meeting minutes and further work with the collected data. 


Combination of the words information and graphics. A tool for visual representation of data, information or knowledge that is concise and clearly arranged. The use of graphics and simple images in this way plays upon the human ability to recognize and perceive trends or patterns. 

Journalism, Civic 

Also participatory, democratic or public. An alternative form of reporting. Citizens and residents of a given area have an active role in collecting, reporting and disseminating news and information. Civic journalism can emerge as a response to the shortcomings of traditional journalism.

Marginalized Community

Also people on the fringe of society. Everyone who is excluded from the social, economic, cultural and/or educational life of the majority. This may be because of their race, sexual orientation, native language, physical ability, etc. 


A protest or demonstration tactic where protestors occupy a public space or building as part of a campaign that seeks social or political change. 

Open Data 

Information and data that are publicly available, complete and easily accessible. They use standards with freely available specifications and are made available under clearly defined conditions of use. 

Open Source

A term most commonly used in relation to software. It is a type of license that gives users the right to use, change and distribute the tool (or any other Open Source project) and its source code to anyone and for any purpose. 

Participation Coordinator 

Or Participatory planning coordinator. A person who is responsible for participation in their municipal area or community. They can work independently or with a team. Most commonly, they are employed by the regional office or the municipality. Among their job duties are project management, stakeholder involvement, organization and facilitation of meetings and events for the public, and similar activities.   

Participation Fatigue 

Tiredness which often occurs when people absent themselves from partaking in the political and demographic processes due to unmet expectations and false promises. 

Participation, Informal

Participation that takes place without the patronage of any institution. It is conducted and organized by the private sector. Within its framework, the participants use deliberation, voting, and other participatory methods similar to formal participation. However, they generally lack formal training/expertise and experience.

Participatory Economy 

An economic system where participation and participatory planning serve as a method to allocate resources. It thus proposes an alternative to the capitalist competitive market and socialist central planning. This decentralized model also promotes values such as sustainability, solidarity and equality.

Participatory Grants 

A type of grants where the distribution of funds is decided by the people directly affected by the grant. A panel of representatives of the affected community is set up for the grant procedure and they decide on who will be given the grant.  

Project Management 

Coordinating individual actions that are needed to manage projects. It comprises everything that needs to be arranged and obtained to successfully complete a project within a set budget, time and framework. Project management can be handled by one project manager or an entire project team. Specific activities include team management, strategic planning, project documentation management, rule negotiation, search for contractors, problem solving and crisis resolution. 

Representative Sample

In statistics, this is a sample whose composition corresponds to the composition of the target population. 

Social Inclusion 

The process of improving the conditions for involvement of excluded individuals and communities in the functioning of society. The aim is to enable marginalized people in particular to participate in decisions that directly affect them and to provide equal access to all services, opportunities or public spaces. 


A sampling technique by which a group of participants is selected to match the demographics of the target population. It aims to prevent over-representation of one or multiple demographic groups. The group selected using sortition is representative of the population in at least three attributes: age, place of residence, and level of education, and is always composed of an equal number of men and women. 


Also key player. In urban projects, it is any institution or individual that is or can be affected by the decision-making process and its results. These can be hospitals, schools, local entrepreneurs, civic or interest associations, or rescue stations. Good relationships and effective communication with stakeholders significantly facilitate the progress of projects and help ensure the satisfaction of all involved. 

Student Parliament 

Also pupil or school parliament. A method of involving students and other young people in the decision-making process. 


A way of operating of the state administration, political party, private company and other entities, which allows one to clearly monitor what is happening. Transparent processes are clear, publicly accessible and inspire confidence in people.  

Virtual Reality 

Technology that allows the user to be in a simulated environment, often with the ability to interact with it. Virtual reality is used, for example, for the visualization of architectural studies.

Youth Participation 

Consists of all the methods used to involve young people and adolescents in the events of a given community. Any activity through which young people participate in decision-making, law-making and other processes, e.g. participatory budgeting, or pupil and student parliaments.



Bang the Table 

An organization that provides online consultancy and deliberation for participatory processes. For this purpose, they have created a platform called EngagementHQ to help involve more people in participatory processes by improving communication between the municipalities and citizens, collecting opinions and suggestions, and other complementary tools. Website


A civic tech solution for public participation developed by Madrid City Hall. Freely available and used by 135 institutions in 35 countries around the world, it enables creating spaces for debates, gives citizens the opportunity to submit proposals and vote on them, and can be also used for participatory budgeting or voting. Website


An Australian organization that promotes deliberative democracy and related values. They work with the government, corporations and other organizations, but also with the Aboriginal people of Australia. Website

Democracy in Practice 

A non-profit organization focused on democratic innovation, experimentation and capacity building. They advocate a growing democratic innovation movement that challenges traditional approaches to governance. They operate primarily in Bolivia. Website 

Emotional Maps 

A tool that allows the public to engage in collecting data, information and opinions about certain places. Emotional maps serve to participatively plan public spaces. First, a municipality needs to determine what questions to ask its residents such as where they feel good, where they spend their time, which places are inaccessible without public transport or where they would like to see more greenery. The questions may refer to the entire area in question or parts of it. The mapping takes place either in person as part of a public participation meeting or online using a questionnaire on the website. In both cases, Emotional Maps also provide an evaluation of the data. The outputs most often serve as supporting documents for the planning of investment actions, creation of transport conceptions or as information for the city police. Website


An EU-funded project aimed at promoting inclusive, transparent and well-managed citizen participation. The project seeks to create a space for communication and exchange of best practices and knowledge.  Therefore, the project focuses on project-design and digital tools for evaluation and optimization. Pilot projects took place, for example, in Milan, Lisbon or Říčany (CZ). Website

Future of Places 

A series of conferences organized by UN Habitat, the Project for Public Spaces and the Ax.son Johnson Foundation. The aim of these conferences was to show that access to public space is not the only concern - elements of planning, design and management of these public spaces are equally important. Website

Institut H21 

A non-profit organization. They present a universal voting system called D21 - Janeček's method, which is based on the principle of multiple votes. Each voter has more votes available than there are winning possibilities. All votes have equal weight and voters do not have to use all of them. Website


A tool that allows collecting data and working with them using a map. It enables users to visualize changing data on a map, track movements in a certain area, or present community projects to people. Mapotic provides consultancy for custom mapping solutions, so this tool can be used for almost anything. Mapotic is used by authorities, individuals, and also by the CzechTourism agency for the “Kudy z nudy” portal. In addition, Mapotic was used to develop the largest real-time shark tracking system. Website

Open Government Partnership (OGP)

An international initiative of US origin founded in 2011. It is an association of people and organizations active in politics and beyond. The goal is to promote and support conditions for transparency, the fight against corruption and the empowerment of citizens in local and state administration. Website

Placemaking Europe 

An international network for placemaking in Europe. It brings together practitioners, academics, community leaders, market participants and legislators not only in the field of placemaking, but also in public space, social life and the human scale. They develop and share knowledge and tools, encourage the exchange of ideas and joint work on projects, and collaborate with a number of other organizations that aim to improve places. Website

People Powered 

An international organization that serves as a hub of knowledge and know-how for public participation and participatory planning. Their goal is to support innovative practices in the direct involvement of people in decision-making about projects in their surroundings. It was founded by economist Josh Lerner and currently has over 50 members and member organizations from 28 countries around the world. Website

Project for Public Spaces 

A non-profit organization founded in 1975 based in New York. They help communities transform public spaces into living places that make use of local assets, serve common needs and support development. They work with community members and everyone who uses public space every day to create vibrant places that their communities actively use. The organization emphasizes participation in all stages of the transformation of public spaces, cooperation with people and stakeholders across sectors and disciplines, and teaching local communities how to subsequently take care of transformed places. Website

Shape Urban 

An Australian organization focused on sustainable urban development. Their key principle is understanding the long-term needs of the local community, their natural and economic environment, and their expectations for the future. Based on this information, they then closely cooperate to create strategic plans and deliver projects that are meaningful to the community. Website

The Innovation in Politics Institute 

An independent organization that aims to search for, develop and implement innovative approaches and methods in European and world politics. They support political pioneers, educate and train politicians and also award regular prizes for the most innovative political work. Website

The Institute for Political Innovation 

A non-profit organization founded by Katherine Gehl that seeks to bring about political change. Their approach is based on viewing American politics through the lens of industrial competition and using that perspective to understand its structure and problems and find appropriate, workable solutions. Website

The Office of the Plenipotentiary for the Development of the Civil Society 

An institute of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. The aim of the institute is to contribute to a better understanding of civil society and the public by the public sector, the political and business sphere and the media. They also seek to promote the strengthening of communication between these parties. For this purpose, the institute encourages public participation. Their specific goals are e.g. friendly approach of public administration to the public and active involvement of the public in public affairs. Website

UN Habitat 

A United Nations program that deals with human settlements and sustainable urban development. The aim of the program is to help build inclusive, safe, sustainable and resilient cities and communities. They operate in more than 90 countries, where they promote knowledge sharing, advise on tactics and strategy, provide technical assistance etc. Website 


An international program for the cooperation of European cities. Integrated and sustainable development of cities throughout Europe is an important goal of the EU. That is why URBACT organizes regular meetings and conferences where city representatives and experts in participatory planning have the opportunity to share experiences and best practices. URBACT has been operating for over 15 years and is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, 28 member states, Norway and Switzerland. Website

World Bank 

An international organization with 189 member countries. They are a key player in the fight against poverty in developing countries. They provide a range of financial products, technical assistance and help countries share and apply knowledge and innovative solutions to the challenges they face. The World Bank consists of five cooperating core-organizations and aims to reduce the percentage of people living in extreme poverty from 36% to 3% by 2030. Website

World Forum for Democracy

A platform for politicians and activists to discuss challenges to democracy and possible solutions. It promotes innovation as a means to strengthen the foundations of democratic society and emphasizes development towards participation and equity. It is a regular annual event jointly organized by the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the city of Strasbourg, the Grand Est region and the French authorities. Website



Borda Count 

A voting method where voters do not choose only their first option, but rank the candidates according to their preference. Candidates then receive a number of points equal to the number of candidates they are preferred over. The candidates with the most votes will then fill the mandates. This method is named after the mathematician and marine engineer Jean-Charles de Borda. 

Citizen Conference 

A method of collecting observations and recommendations from citizens. Participants are randomly selected to represent the various viewpoints and demographics of a given state. These randomly selected citizens then deliberate with state representatives and serve as advisors to government and self-governing institutions. They point out problem areas and propose solutions that can help the local government respond better to the needs and concerns of citizens. 

Citizens Advisory Council 

A local government entity made up of volunteers from the community it is meant to represent. It is a deliberative entity that involves ordinary citizens in political and decision-making processes. 

Citizens Jury 

A small group of randomly selected citizens, demographically representative of a given area, who come together to reach a joint decision or recommendation on a policy issue through informed deliberation. They most commonly serve as advisors to the municipality. 

Civic Lottery 

A lottery-based method for random selection of citizens. Civic lottery can be used to select citizens to participate in democratic initiatives or public functions. The aim is to obtain a representative sample. 

Community Mapping 

A process in which members of a given community come together to map their needs, preferences, values or resources. It is mainly used to help people from a given community map out what life in that community looks like. Community mapping helps to understand not only the geographical but also the social and economic environment. 

Crowd Law Making 

Informing, cooperating, consulting and, above all, involving the public in the work of legislative institutions on a local, regional and national scale. 

Deliberative Polling 

Public opinion poll in which participants consult experts and each other. It is time consuming and often takes place over two or more days. A representative sample of the population first answers the set questions. This is followed by debates with experts on the given topic or politicians and by group work. Poll participants are thus actively educated on the topic. As a final step, all participants again answer the same questions that were asked at the beginning of the process. The purpose of deliberative polling is to show how the opinion of the public may change if they are more educated on the given topic. 

Election Monitoring 

Observation and monitoring of the election process by an independent organization to ensure compliance with all laws. Election observers ensure that all voters cast their votes without coercion and that the votes are counted accurately. The UN provides official election monitoring at the request of a member state. 

Focus Group 

A method most commonly used to collect data for qualitative research in sociological surveys. It is a moderated group discussion with demographically similar people who have been randomly selected based on certain characteristics or possible similar experiences. 

Future Search 

A meeting to plan future steps and foster collaboration between different stakeholders that usually lasts two days. In this meeting, participants talk about their past, current situation and ideal future. Future Search focuses on collective interest and future, while treating problems and conflicts as information rather than action points. Future Search promotes self-governance and participant accountability for their actions before, during and after the end of the search for the future. 


Originally collaborative computer programming. In a broader context, it is an event where participants are intensively engaged in jointly devising solutions to social, governmental or technological issues. It can take place over several days. 

In-depth Interview 

A qualitative research method where one member of the target group (or several members, but always individually) is spoken to about a particular issue or topic and asked in-depth questions about their experiences, opinions or observations. It usually takes place before a quantitative survey. 

Model United Nations 

A learning simulation of the United Nations. The aim is to enable students to become more involved in international political issues, gain additional related knowledge while developing their communication, counseling, leadership and debating skills. 

Online Deliberation 

Any deliberation that takes place online. It includes both communication using civic tech and e-participation tools, as well as communication via social media, websites, forums or real-time chat.  


The process of securing the delivery of services or projects using external contractors or suppliers. A company or organization entrusts work to someone else on a contract basis. 

Panel Discussion 

A discussion of a group of people (most commonly experts) on a certain topic in front of an audience. Panels are usually interactive and discuss, debate or answer questions from the audience. They are usually moderated but are less formal than debates. 

Participatory Budgeting 

A community project where a municipality (e.g. district, city, region) allocates a certain part of its budget for the implementation of projects proposed by citizens. In the first phase, residents submit proposals. The authorized department then analyzes them technically and selects those proposals that can be implemented with the available money. Residents vote on these projects. The winning design (or designs) is then implemented. Participatory budgeting process must be evaluated every year and, if necessary, adjusted for the next year to make the process sustainable.  

Participatory Budgeting, Reverse 

As with participatory budgeting, the municipality invites its residents to decide on the budget. But in reverse participatory budgeting, people decide what to save money on. 

Participatory Budgeting in Schools 

Participatory budgeting at the elementary, high school or university level. The school sets aside part of its budget for projects or investments proposed by students and staff, and in some cases also by the student's parents. 

Participatory Education

An educational model where students can participate in the process of determining their curriculum. Thus, students decide for themselves how to integrate their learning goals into the things they study. In addition, students also evaluate the process they went through to achieve these goals. Through this, they learn democratic decision-making, decision implementation and evaluation. 

Participatory Modeling 

Also collaborative modeling. It is a learning process that uses the knowledge of all participants to create a representation of reality. Participants use modeling practices to co-formulate the problem, analyze solutions and trade-offs, and make decisions. 

Participatory Urban Planning 

A set of methods that involve local residents in spatial planning. Residents provide local knowledge and information that complements the technical know-how of experts and officials. Solutions are developed collaboratively to meet the needs of the community. 

People's Policy

A method of deliberative policy and lawmaking developed by the Australian organization DemocracyCo. This process involves a group of citizens working together with experts and stakeholders to develop a policy, strategy or law together over the course of four days. The policy issue is determined and developed by the citizens and the entire process has no connection to the government or political parties. 


A request by citizens (petitioners) that is submitted in writing to a state or public authority (parliament, government, head of state, etc.). The institution to which the petition is addressed is obliged to accept it and respond to it in writing within 30 days. If the content of the petition does not fall within its scope of authority, it must be forwarded to the relevant institution. 


A process of designing and creating public spaces that respond to people's needs. The goal of placemaking is to create places that inspire residents to enjoy their free time and that support their health. It is a complex, multi-layered approach that involves multiple disciplines. 

Historically, this is a 1960's approach to urban design that focuses on community. It emphasizes the involvement of residents in deciding about the space, the involvement of local volunteers and initiatives, cooperation and patience. 

Public Consultation 

A process that aims to collect and process citizens' observations and requests on topics and issues that concern them. The purpose of the process is greater efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects and lawmaking. The elements of public consultation are most commonly notification (announcement of a matter for consultation), consultation itself (two-way flow of information and exchange of opinions between the consulted public and the decision-making institution) and participation (involvement of interest groups in the preparation of decisions or legal regulations). 

Public Debate 

A method of public involvement and stakeholder consultation. It takes the form of a formal presentation on the given topic and subsequent opening of space for questions and discussion. The aim of public debates is to involve all stakeholders and affected persons in the planning process. In some countries, this is required by law for major public works projects. 

Public Hearing 

An open meeting of government officials and citizens, where citizens can express their opinions, possibly share observations and comments on the topic being discussed. The creation of a law can be preceded by a public hearing in an attempt to identify what opinions and concerns citizens have.  


A tool of direct democracy that allows all citizens of a state (or all residents of a municipality) to vote on executive or legislative issues. 


A type of meeting where a certain time-period of a project or process is evaluated. The purpose is to evaluate the work done or the elapsed time and identify what went well and where problems occurred. Each team member or meeting attendee has the opportunity to express their opinion during this meeting. 

Issues that emerged during the retrospective are then discussed. The output can be, for example, an adjustment of the working procedure, a map of problem areas or a specific plan for how the team or project will develop further.

Round Table 

A method used for group discussion, where the discussion takes place in smaller groups seated around tables. The goal is often for the group at each table to reach a joint conclusion. Participants usually represent different opinion groups that are closely related to the debated topic.

Social Audit 

A method of evaluation, monitoring and assessment of political or other processes by the public. Here, citizens lead the way in defining impact measures, monitoring policy or project implementation, and gathering evidence on service delivery. Social audit is commonly employed by civil society or NGOs to evaluate the external and internal performance of their programs and services and to monitor corruption in government. 

Stakeholder Mapping 

Finding key actors who are relevant to the project or department's agenda. The aim of mapping is to subsequently involve stakeholders in projects and processes that they can influence and from which they can benefit. Stakeholder mapping is done at the beginning of a process or project and involves finding out information about people, organizations and companies that are related to the project in some way and can benefit from being involved or contribute to its success. 


A quantitative research method. In participatory planning, sociological surveys are the most common type of surveys and are conducted to determine the distribution of opinions across the entire society or a specific part of it. Surveys usually consist of a series of questions asked to collect data from a specific group of people. A representative sample of respondents is necessary for the reliability of surveys.

Theater of the Oppressed 

A set of theater techniques created by the Brazilian theater artist Augusto Boal, based on the idea of a dialogue between the performers and the audience. They use acting to represent a situation or problem and to stimulate debate about possible changes and solutions. In the Theater of the Oppressed, the audience serves as additional actors, as they actively participate in solving the fictitious situation being acted out. This differs from conventional theater methods, where the audience is separated from the actors. 

Voting, Cumulative 

A voting or election method where voters can allocate more than one vote to their chosen option or options (whether for a candidate in an election, an issue discussed at a public meeting, etc.) as they see fit. 

Voting, Dot 

A method of cumulative voting where participants vote for options using a limited number of stickers (most often dot-shaped) or pen-drawn dots. This method is most commonly used to prioritize long lists. 

Voting, Preferential 

Also ranked voting, an electoral system where voters use preferential ballots to select multiple candidates and rank them according to their preference. There are several ways to tally such votes.

Voting, Real-Time 

A voting method where the voter has their vote available continuously and not just on a one-time basis during the election. In this case, the voter partially or fully lends their vote to a representative whom they trust to defend their interest. However, the voter can revoke their vote from the representative at any time without notice. This system essentially works without elections as citizens decide every day to whom they are going to lend their vote. It has the potential to hold politicians more accountable, to tie them more closely to the people they are supposed to represent, and to reduce the chances that politicians will make election-promises that they then fail to keep. 

World Café 

A method of sharing experiences. During world café, participants sit in groups at smaller café-like tables. Together they discuss topics and questions related to the subject of the meeting. This discussion-format introduces participants to other perspectives on the matter, which can lead to changes in opinions and foster collaboration, or even defuse conflict in controversial projects.



Francesca Bria 

Innovation economist and digital policy expert. She is the president of the Italian National Innovation Fund (Fondo Nazionale Innovazione), senior advisor to the United Nations on digital cities and digital rights, and advisor to the European Commision on innovation policy and research and next generation internet. Her work is primarily concerned with data and the ways in which people can gain control over data that directly affect them. 

Giovanni Allegretti

Italian architect with extensive experience in participatory planning and research. He has worked on designing, managing and evaluating participatory processes in more than 50 countries. He collaborated with the European Commission on the URBACT project, which supports the exchange of experience between cities to ensure sustainable development. 

Jane Jacobs 

American-Canadian journalist, activist, urban planner and author of the book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She significantly influenced the fields of urban planning, sociology, and cultural studies as well as the perspective on the design and functioning of large cities. She also criticized the fact that urban plans often emphasize a male-centered worldview. 

Josh Lerner 

American economist who researched private, venture and development capital. He founded the non-profit organization Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), which since 2009 has been promoting participatory budgeting, especially in the USA and Canada. He subsequently founded People Powered, an international organization that promotes innovation in public participation. 

Katherine Gehl 

Entrepreneur and author of Politics Industry Theory, who founded the Institute for Political Innovation. She has extensive experience in the private and public sector, is a member of several boards of directors of non-profit organizations, honorary co-chairwoman of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers and co-founder of the Democracy Found organization.

Nelson Dias 

International expert on participatory budgeting who worked as a consultant to a number of organizations and institutions. At the World Bank, he worked on the implementation of participatory budgeting in a number of municipalities in countries such as Mozambique, Mexico and Russia. For the Portuguese government, he implemented a national participatory youth budget. He also worked with the United Nations and the Cape Verdean government on participatory budgeting. 

He is the author of a number of publications and the editor of the books World Atlas of Participatory Budgeting or Hope for Democracy - PB Worldwide.  

Pia Mancini 

Activist, founder of the Net Democracy Foundation and co-founder of Open Collective (a platform for gathering open source project groups and semi-transparent spending of money) and Democracy Earth Foundation (a non-profit organization that develops tools for 21st century democracy). In her work, she focuses on technology, data and their use for democracy. 

Stefano Stortone 

Founder and executive director of BiPart, an Italian non-profit organization that aims to promote participation and create new democratic processes and institutions. In the past, he worked on the EMPATIA project, which focused on software solutions for deliberation. Over the past 10 years, he has helped to implement participatory budgeting in a number of cities and schools and also as a pilot project in one Italian prison.



A City is Not a Tree: Christopher Alexander

This 1965 essay questions the commonly used practices in designing cities and built space. Cities are commonly planned as tree diagrams, where individual nodes have a relationship only with the parent node. Alexander advocates a grid structure, where each node has relationships with many other nodes in its vicinity. 

This criticism is based on the then new information from the fields of mathematics and cognition (i.e. human cognition). As such it differs from other criticisms of the time, which were primarily based on socio-political arguments. This is a landmark text that significantly influenced the perspective on modern urban planning and design. 

A Ladder of Citizen Participation: Sherry Arnstein

Arnstein's 1969 article describes the various levels of citizen involvement in decision-making processes. The ladder model shows the system of public participation from manipulation by the state (lowest level of involvement) to citizen control over decision-making processes. 

The first two levels, Manipulation and Therapy, are non-participative. Their goal is to educate or change the citizens' view of the situation. These levels are primarily focused on building PR and one-sided communication towards the public. The third level, Informing, is the most important step to actual participation. For informing, it is important that communication flows in both directions. A level higher is Consultation, which includes, for example, public opinion polls, neighborhood meetings or surveys. The next level is Placation, when citizens are allowed to participate to a limited extent in processes and decision-making. However, this is often done only to show that citizens have been given the opportunity to participate. 

True participation begins with the next level, Partnership. Here, citizens share responsibility for decision-making and planning, and for example, joint committees are formed. A level above is Delegated power, when citizens already have a numerical majority in institutions, councils, etc. The highest level belongs to Citizen control. It is a phase when citizens make decisions about their surroundings by themselves without an intermediary. 

Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen Participation: Graham Smith

This book is a comparative analysis of innovative practice in democracy that aims to find a way to design institutions that strengthen the role of citizens in decision-making. It focuses on civic assemblies, direct legislation and e-democracy. Smith systematically analyzes democratic innovation in different countries - citizen assemblies in Canada, participatory budgeting in Brazil, direct legislation in Switzerland and California, and experiments with digital democracy in other countries. 

Designing Disorder: Pablo Sendra a Richard Sennett

The authors describe a new way of looking at urban planning. In this book, they question the monotonous structure of cities that are unable to respond to the needs of their residents. The goal is to propose a new, more organic perspective on the matter. 

The authors' experience in architecture, political science, urban planning and activism serve as source materials. A key part of well-designed cities is the participation of their inhabitants, because only then is it possible to create open and safe cities. 

Feminist City - Claiming Space in a Man-Made World: Leslie Kern 

Using examples from history, culture and her personal experience, Kern shows that cities were and are built for men. She poses the question: How to build fair and sustainable cities for women as well? She addresses the injustices built into cities, whether it is public transport that has little room for mothers with baby carriages, lack of public bathrooms or being shouted at when walking down the street. 

Good Neighbors - Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End: Sylvie Tissot

Tissot's book can be considered a neighborhood study that deals with the relationship between diversity and gentrification. She reveals how the arrival of the upper middle class to a historically working-class neighborhood affects the shape of the neighborhood. She shows how the arrival of wealthier residents who pose as champions of diversity has in fact only reorganized the class divide instead of eliminating it. 

Mobility Justice - The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes: Mimi Sheller

In this book, Sheller deals with mobility and its contemporary crisis. At the local level, the book addresses the circulation of people, resources and information; at the city level, the issues of public transport and the “right to the city” are being discussed; and finally, on a global scale, it depicts the inequity of tourists and other elites being able to roam freely, while migrants and those in need are often trapped in one place without the possibility of movement.  

The Life and Death of Great American Cities: Jane Jacobs

A book on urban planning and public spaces from 1961. Jacobs reflects on life in large cities, cities being overcrowded by cars, chaotic administration, lack of resources and increasing crime. Her book represents a strong opposition to the urban design theories of the 1950s. According to the author, their implementation destroys communities and creates isolated and unnatural urban spaces. With her opinions, Jacobs tries to encourage new, unconventional perspectives on solving the problems of building large cities. 

Participatory Budgeting in Europe, Democracy and public governance: Yves Sintomer, Anja Röcke a Carsten Herzberg

This book serves as a comparative analysis of participatory budgeting and its implications for democracy, social justice and sustainable development in Europe. It draws on experiments in ten European countries and assesses the implications of participatory budgeting for democracy, modernization of self-governance, social justice and sustainable development. 

Planet of Slums: Mike Davis 

This book, written by historian, urban planner and political activist Mike Davis, focuses on the proliferation of slums in cities around the world and the inhumane living conditions of their inhabitants. It analyzes the past of cities to understand their present state. Davis reflects on the causes of the drastic increase in the number of slum dwellers and the daily reality of more than one billion people who live in slums. His arguments are supported by statistics and facts that clearly show that the issue of slums needs to be taken into consideration and solutions sought. 

Rebel Cities - From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution: David Harvey

Written by anthropology professor David Harvey, this book holds up a mirror to the capitalist and class conflicts that take place in cities. Harvey looks at the situation in cities like Mumbai, Johannesburg, São Paulo and others and, using examples such as the Paris Commune, Occupy Wall Street or the London riots, asks how cities can be reorganized in a fairer and more comprehensible manner.