ERLE: Success factors of local e-participation: Mapping and strengthening digital civic participation in German municipalities

The joint project “Success factors of local e-participation: Mapping and strengthening digital civic participation in German municipalities” (ERLE), funded by the Mercator Foundation, examines the question of what goals German municipalities are pursuing with digital participation and what contextual conditions influence the formulation and achievement of these goals

Building on the DIID Monitor Online Participation, a nationwide full survey of digital participation offerings from German municipalities is being carried out for the first time. Secondary data will also be included. This data will then be used to determine the conditions for the success of such participation offerings (research dimension). There are still considerable gaps in research, particularly with regard to the supply side of digital participation and the contextual conditions at macro, meso and micro level. In addition, the effects on citizens and administration as well as the significance of AI applications in the context of public participation are of equal interest. In combination, systematic analyses can be used to expand the empirical data on the prerequisites and success factors of digital participation for the German context. The data will be presented to the public as an interactive dashboard. Finally, local authorities and stakeholders from participation practice will be actively involved in the research and knowledge transfer through workshops and municipal competence networks (transfer dimension).

The joint project has been funded by the Mercator Foundation since April 1st 2024 for around two years with a total of around € 855,000. The sub-project based at DIID is led by DIID members Prof. Dr. Stefan Marschall and Dr. Nadja Wilker. HHU-Düsseldorf is working together with TU Dresden (Prof. Dr. Marianne Kneuer, project coordination), Leipzig University (Prof. Dr. Christian Pieter Hoffmann & Prof. Dr. Christian Pentzold) and the University of Koblenz-Landau (Prof. Dr. Maria A. Wimmer). Former DIID spokesperson Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders, who has been working on the application together with the DIID team and the project consortium since 2021, also played a key role in acquiring the project