Trust is one of the most essential values in life. It is impossible to connect, create, love or grow without trust. As a politician, one meets many people who neither trust politics, nor politicians, or even other people. This is why the Cooperative Council in Oosterpark, Groningen, was conceived and realised. The primary goal was to rebuild trust between politicians and citizens.

This project has already made a difference at various levels: by letting residents and city councillors sit shoulder-to-shoulder on the Cooperative Council, conversations have taken a positive turn; sharing responsibility is colouring the dialogue in a way that would not be possible without connecting participatory democracy (active citizens) with representative democracy (elected representatives). To encourage a variety of people to join, citizens were randomly selected. The Cooperative Council is monitored by the University of Groningen which has found a collective rise in levels of trust, increased voter turnout and indicators of a tighter-knit community.

Project owner: Wieke Paulusma, City Councillor Groningen, Netherlands

(Innovation in Politics Awards Winner 2019)