Common Youth eParticipation Processes in Europe (1)

Learning from the designs of existing participative projects is particularly important for the further development of OPIN. Therefore, the EUth project partners have asked themselves: Which types of (digital) participation projects addressing youngsters are commonly being initiated in Europe?

 

Methodical Steps

 

In order to find out, the EUth project partners collected best practice examples – so far 43 different participation processes across Europe – and analysed them according to their similarities. The focus of the analysis lay on identifying dominant types of participatory processes. Furthermore, each process-type was examined concerning its structure, such as its participative building blocks (online/offline) and how these are combined.

 

Insights and Findings

 

So far, four general types have been identified: “Innovation”, “Discuss Topic”, “Spatial Planning” and “Participatory Budgeting”. Yet, this is an open list; further types might be added during future analysis. Here you can read short portraits of each type:

 

  • Innovation: Development of visions and/or (future) concepts on the basis of an open collection and discussion of ideas. The underlying question of the process is posed in a very general way, opening up space for the development of innovative approaches. 

  • Discuss Topic: Participants discuss different aspects of a defined topic. Usually these participative processes are initiated, where some work has already been done and the issue is more concrete already. It serves to gather/develop further ideas or insights relating to a clearly defined question. 

  • Spatial Planning: Basically, it is a combination of the two types described above, which focuses on planning processes in a city or another specified area. It can represent a process type of its own, as it is used quite often and hence seems to be relevant for potential initiators. Spatial planning requires specific technical tools like maps to locate and visualize ideas in a spatial context.

  • Participatory Budgeting: This type is also a variation of the first two types, yet due to the frequency of its use, it can be considered a separate type. Here, the participants are given the opportunity to suggest or determine how parts of a communities’ or cities’ budget will be allocated. Like the previous type, it requires additional technical tools, such as a tool to allocate parts of the budget.

Interested in the design of these participation process types? Watch this space! Soon we will be publishing part two of this article.