Calls for more bicycle use have been heard from across the political spectrum in Germany for years. Nonetheless, policies that lead to a transition away from car use and toward the bicycle in urban mobility remain absent. Against this background, we explore a mode of citizen engagement in the policy process in which citizens take the initiative and claim a political space to include their user expertise in the policy process. The case is a recent development in the field of urban mobility in Berlin, Germany in which citizen activists directly integrated citizen knowledge into policy outcomes. This was enabled by claiming the political space and thereby determining the spectrum of possibility, ultimately leading to an unprecedented process of co-creative legislation that marked a unique shift in German mobility policy, with the result that Berlin became the first German state to pass a bicycle law in June of 2018. We argue that the political space these citizens claimed was a key factor for enabling policy change, as previous attempts in invited political spaces had not led to a departure from the status quo. In a first empirical step, we establish evidence of citizen knowledge in policy output by comparing the citizen-authored bill with the 2018 Mobility Law. In the second empirical step based on 13 semi-structured interviews with the citizens responsible for the law, we offer a closer look at the type of knowledge relevant for enabling direct integration of user knowledge into policy output. We end with a discussion on the broader importance of the interplay of citizen knowledge for their impact on transformative policymaking.
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- Academic Articles
von Schneidemesser, D., Herberg, J., & Stasiak, D. (2020). Re-claiming the responsivity gap: The co-creation of cycling policies in Berlin’s mobility law. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 8: 100270. doi:10.1016/j.trip.2020.100270.
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- Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy Advice