Participation is one of the basic prerequisites for achieving sustainable urban development. I think that municipalities, urban planners and politicians need to understand that the residents of a city know their neighbourhood best. For example, they know whether green spaces in their area are well-kept or how well their area is connected to public transport. It is important that this local knowledge, this local expertise is used in planning processes.
URBANET: How would you define participation in an urban context?
“For one thing, participation in this context means that I can partake in the process of developing the city. But it also means that I can participate in whatever is happening in the city. Every person living in a city or benefitting from a city should be able to partake and shape that city. It’s not only about the question of how an area is developed, but also whether people have access to spaces and can fulfil themselves. It is also important that citizens can actively participate in society, for example by doing voluntary work or by joining a sports club for leisure. Every resident of the city should have access to this.”