In recent years, citizen participation has become an important issue for municipalities. Several forms of citizen participation are possible to involve citizens in political-administrative decisions (e.g., noise-action planning or participatory budgeting). For this purpose, some municipalities increasingly use the internet.
So far, there has been no overview of how many municipalities use the internet for which kind of participation processes. The NRW-Fortschrittskolleg “Online-Participation” has taken on this task. Based on a survey of municipalities and counties in North Rhine-Westfalia (NRW), a database of all Internet-based participation procedures of the last ten years has been set up.
In addition to the scientific research on online participation in NRW, this database serves to bring together municipal actors that are interested in internet-supported citizen participation. Primarily, the database can enable an exchange of experience. The information collected in the survey is being presented in an interactive participation map. It can be found here: www.monitor-online-partizipation.de (in German) The data can be retrieved for each individual municipality under an open license.
In November 2015, the survey phase had started by sending the questionnaires to all 396 municipalities and 31 counties in NRW. It was successfully completed in March 2016. In total, more than 90% of all cities, municipalities and counties in NRW took part in the survey. According to our survey, in 130 municipalities as well as in seven counties in NRW, at least one Internet-based citizen participation process has been carried out so far. Thirty-three municipalities have already carried out such procedures before 2010 and thus are quite experienced.
The project was carried out by a team of PhD-students of the NRW Fortschrittskolleg from different disciplines:
- Malte Steinbach (Business Administration)
- Sabrina Schöttle (Sociology)
- Nadja Wilker (Political Science)
- Theresa Witt (Law)
- Peter Gladitz (Political Science)