Overline: Public Participation
Headline: Democracy 3.0: The Key to More Successful Citizen Participation

How can parliamentary representative democracies be strengthened and revitalised? In the context of the ever more complex future questions society has to grapple with, the study “Bundesrepublik 3.0” (Federal Republic 3.0) presents a concept for more citizen participation at national level. It was developed in a co-creative process where examples of best practice were considered and combined to generate new solutions.

How can representative parliamentary democracies be supported? Answers to this question can be found in the study "Federal Republic 3.0".
How can representative parliamentary democracies be supported? Answers to this question can be found in the study "Federal Republic 3.0". iStock/ Nattakorn Maneerat

Democracy 3.0: The Key to More Successful Citizen Participation

Increasingly, people in Germany are looking for new ways of making politicians take an interest in the issues that preoccupy them. The FridaysforFuture protests or the Munich popular petition “Save the Bees” are just two recent examples. Many people are keen to get involved and contribute to shaping policy, but not through the usual party-political channels. In the study “Bundesrepublik 3.0” commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA), Professor Patrizia Nanz and a team of authors from the IASS and the Institute for Participatory Design (IPG) have now developed a concept for more citizen participation at national level: the Bundesbeteiligungswerkstatt or National Participation Workshop.

For the study, sociopolitical challenges and difficulties associated with nationwide citizen participation projects were gathered and juxtaposed with various international examples of best practice in citizen participation at local, regional, and national levels. The authors also analysed selected participation concepts based on the procedural roadmap (Verfahrensleinwand) developed by the IPG in 2017.

The case studies examined include the General Assembly of Democracy in the French town of Kingersheim, the citizen dialogue on the Climate Action Plan 2050 in Germany, the Brasilian National Public Policy Conferences, the Citizens’ Assembly in Ireland, the Stadtwerkstatt Berliner Mitte, and the WerkStadt für Beteiligung in Potsdam. The study only drew on case studies that were characterised by democratic innovation or were outstanding in terms of their design and organisation.

The concept of a nationwide participation workshop that emerged from the authors’ analyses is an innovative and practicable model that meets the identified requirements and integrates the best features of the case studies. The authors also provide an overview of the entire participation process and explain how the participation workshop can be integrated into Germany’s parliamentary representative system.