Since its launch in February 2016, the Decidim Barcelona digital participation platform has received over 32,000 new registrations and 190,000 signatures and has accepted over 9,000 citizen proposals. These participatory processes and citizen initiatives have led to over 1,300 face-to-face meetings for the public to discuss the various proposals.
Last March, a report was submitted to the Plenary Session of Barcelona City Council bringing together and contextualising all this information, together with the development of the city’s Participation Regulation and the creation of the digital platform decidim.org.
Through the various mechanisms created at Decidim, both the public and social organisations have been able, among other things, to make proposals and support them, take part in discussions, answer surveys, vote on participatory budgets, sign up for face-to-face meetings or monitor the execution of the results of the processes.
Participatory processes: a new tool for citizens
The most popular option at decidim.barcelona has been the one relating to participatory processes, with a total of 38 processes from various districts, neighbourhoods and subject areas.
The city’s Municipal Action Plan was defined by means of aparticipatory process that resulted in over 220,000 face-to-face and digital interactions, including proposals, comments, discussions, support, votes and meetings. Work on the current Citizen Participation Regulations was similarly carried out, and the regulations were approved in October 2017, following an open process involving all of the City Council’s municipal groups, professionals and experts, organisations and residents, who made over a hundred concrete proposals.
Decidim Barcelona has included participatory processes as varied as “La Model s’obre a la ciutat” [“Opening up the La Model prison to the city”], to define the future uses and amenities to be given to the city’s former prison, or Barcelona City Council’s gender equality regulations, with proposals and contributions from professionals, feminist organisations and LGBT groups, as well as the general public.
Other processes included in the decidim.bcn platform focus on urban redevelopment and the uses of the city’s public spaces. Efforts have thus been directed at the design of the Casas Barates green area in the Bon Pastor neighbourhood, deciding in conjunction with residents what spaces they want, their uses and the exact places they are be located in. Another project worked on is the “Montjuïc, a park for Barcelona” process, which relates to the Montjuïc park Action Plan. Debate with the public was opened by meanso f almost twenty face-to-face meetings as well as through digital participation on decidim.bcn. The process attracted over two hundred proposals and contributions for improvement.
The first citizen initiative carried out with the new participation regulations related to the ZooXXI project. It was added to decidim.barcelona as a participatory process in the platform’s early days, with the aim of giving it visibility. The initiative, which called for the Zoo regulations to be included in the 2014 Byelaw on the protection, possession and sale of animals, was finally approved at the City Council’s plenary session of 3 May.
Citizen initiatives: residents promoting municipal action
As stated in the Participation Regulations, participatory processes for the discussion of municipal policies can be promoted through citizen initiatives. Barcelona’s residents can also – among other things – drive the activation of consultations or participation bodies or the inclusion of items on the agenda of district or municipal plenary sessions.
Decidim.barcelona currently contains two open citizen initiatives. “Recuperem Maladeta“ [“Let’s get Carrer Maladeta back”], which calls for an empty site in the neighbourhood of Porta (Nou Barris district) to be declared a public space; and “Pont de Santander“, which collects signatures for the submittal of a proposal for the remodelling and construction of bridges above train tracks in the district of Sant Martí.
The initiative “Recuperem el nom Riera de Cassoles [“Let’s reinstate the name Riera de Cassoles”] collected over 3,500 signatures calling for Avinguda del Príncep d’Astúries to change its name back to its previous name of Riera de Cassoles, which marked the boundary between the old municipalities of Gràcia and Sant Gervasi de Cassoles. The proposal was included in the agenda for the plenary sessions of the districts of Sarrià – Sant Gervasi and Gràcia, where it was approved. The change of name was subsequently approved by the Committee for the Naming of Streets in Barcelona and took effect on 31 March.
The “CAP a la Misericòrdia ja!” [“Primary care centre at La Misericòrdia now!”] initiative, promoted by the CAP Raval Nord Digne platform, attracted over 5,000 signatures for the Raval Nord primary care centre to be opened in the chapel of La Misericòrdia. The proposal was received by the Barcelona City Council plenary session last February; and, for the first time, a member of the public took part in the plenary session on behalf of the platform to present one of the items on the agenda.
All you need to do to access the participatory processes, add proposals, share ideas in discussions or simply make comments is register at decidim.barcelona.