ECoD City Network
The European Capital of Democracy (ECoD) City Network is a strong group of cities who foster participation and champion democracy across Europe. This Network gives cities a platform to showcase how they are changing our world for the better. Member cities host regular in-person network meetings, as well as online workshops, where representatives come together to share their expertise and best practices in democracy promotion at the municipal level.
Who is part of the ECoD City Network?
The ECoD City Network is an exclusive group of dedicated cities that are frontrunners in democracy promotion. All participating cities successfully submitted applications for the ECoD Call. Cities nominate representatives from departments dealing with questions of democracy and civic participation who actively participate in all activities.
Together our City Network members
Network members host regular in-person meetings, as well as online workshops, which foster and strengthen pan-European collaboration.
Knowledge sharing, peer learning and capacity building enables our members to gather new skills and provides opportunities for professional development.
International expertise for mutual exchange of knowledge and experience, as well as ECoD Programme Year events to showcase their work.
Sharing best practices creates a supportive environment which inspires the development of impactful interventions in their communities.
Contribute and be a part of the Programme Year in the title-holding ECoD City, as well as the online and in-person City Network meetings.
Join our Network
Becoming a part of the ECoD City Network is a unique opportunity for cities within the Council of Europe Member States and Kosovo to exchange best practices and learn from each other. All cities who successfully submit an application for the European Capital of Democracy can join the network.
The next Network meeting will be held in:
Warsaw (10-12 May)
The next Network meeting will have a focus on Democracy Technology and also includes attendance at the annual Innovation in Politics Convention & Awards Gala, 2023.
Meet our ECoD City Network Members
→ Country: Belgium
→ Population: 506,922 (2015)
Bottom-up participation allows young people to enter into a dialogue with policy makers. The programme is structured to help the young people to grow throughout the process, with methods adapted along the way to suit the needs of the participants. A preparatory process supports them as they learn how to formulate, discuss and test their ideas and opinions. Throughout the process, young people learn how to distinguish between facts and opinions, developing their civic awareness and media literacy. Participation projects like this only work if young people are co-owners of the process. Young people participate and co-organise, with an open and widely distributed call for participants on social media via youth centres, schools and individual young people.
OOR 3.0 is a new low-threshold, future-proof platform for digital participation on which the citizens of Antwerp can give their opinion about the city’s projects. In 2012, the municipal youth service developed OOR, the city’s first digital participation instrument to be able to ask children, teenagers and young people their opinions. After ten years of intensive use, OOR has had a complete makeover. The urban youth service has built up expertise on how to make citizen surveys for public participation projects very accessible, so that children and young people can also express their opinion in an inclusive way. This expertise formed the basis for the upgrade of the old platform.
ComPas: Competence Passport
Compas is a certificate youngsters can achieve after they have developed competencies and learned to name their soft skills during a programme undertaken in their spare time. They learn how to work together, communicate, cope with feedback, persevere and to take responsibility for themselves. The certificate is awarded by Antwerp City Council and the Flemish Employment Service. With ComPas, young people gain greater self awareness, making them stronger candidates in their first steps into the labour market, which results in a sense of empowerment. In addition, the programme can help them to choose what to study, which jobs they are interested in or how they want to participate in society.
Autor: Lamberto Ramon Torre Galería: Vistas de Barcelona Fecha de captura: 12/06/2017
→ Country: Spain
→ Population: 1.62 million (2018)
Decidim is a free digital platform that enables organisations and institutions to initiate participatory processes, like consultations. This open-source software is available for anyone to view, copy, change or share the code, as long as they maintain the same licence. Decidim.barcelona was launched in 2016, since then Decidim has been adopted by hundreds of other public administrations and social organisations, and has been translated into more than 50 languages around the world. Today, Decidim.barcelona has 150,000 registered participants and 28,200 citizen proposals, more than half of which have been accepted). For Barcelona, Decidim is an innovative tool for individual and organisational participation. It has deepened and enriched the democratic process, with a commitment to technological autonomy, free software, open knowledge and the defence of citizens’ digital rights.
The Barcelona Superblock project aims to bring about changes in the design and use of public spaces that will bring us closer to a more sustainable and resilient city, while also working with existing resistance to the changes in habits that this new urban model implies. Eixample’s Superblock project is notable for the diversity of perspectives that it took into account, considering gender and age as well as people requiring accessible spaces and local shops. This participatory project also combines the best digital tools and face-to-face activities: working sessions, presentations, group discussions and debates, as well as exploratory walks with neighbours and workshops in schools. This wide range of participation tools was essential to the design of Superblocks in general, making Superblock: Eixample particularly innovative. The digital platform decidim.barcelona was used to manage and document the process.
Barcelona Youth Forum
The Barcelona Youth Forum is a deliberative process in which 99 young people between 16 and 29 years of age, selected through civic lottery, collaboratively address the situation of youth in the city and reach a consensus on public-policy proposals to present to the municipal government. Participants were organised into working groups and chose the topics that were most important to them: mental health, education and emancipation. The groups invited experts to participate and generated proposals, with recommendations, on each topic. The groups chose 22 proposals to present to Barcelona’s City Council for evaluation. Finally, the Mayor and Councillors committed to implementing 20 of their 22 recommendations. This best practice method of drawing lots, payment for participation and the deliberative methodology, represents a true innovation in the active involvement of citizens in Barcelona.
→ Country: Italy
→ Population: 388,367 (2017)
Climate City Assembly
The Climate City Assembly is a democratic participation tool, which aims to directly involve city residents in the design of climate-related local policies. The Assembly is composed of 80 residents (randomly selected from a representative sample of the local population), 10 non-resident University Students and 10 residents from the wider metropolitan area who work in the city. Assembly participants receive a small token payment to ensure that economic status isn’t a barrier to participation. The Assembly has the mission to work for four months to produce policy and regulation proposals and recommendations to make Bologna more renewable and sustainable, accelerating a fair and just green transition.
The Municipality of Bologna has appointed a team of five Diversity Managers with competences in the fields of law, economics, training and education, and human resources, who are experienced activists in the promotion of human rights and diversity in five fields: origin, disability, gender and gender identity, age, and sexual orientation. The team will support the Rights and Plural City office, as well as the wider municipality and administration, to improve diversity management and access for people at risk of marginalisation, and to foster the representation of under-represented groups within the local administration.
LGBTQIA+ General Cooperation Pact
The Municipality of Bologna has signed a Cooperation Pact with 27 local associations and groups representing LGBTQIA+ communities. The Pact was signed for the first time in 2018 and renewed for the 2021-2026 period. This Pact engages all departments of the local administration in cooperating with the signatory civil-society partners on 104 different projects aimed at promoting the rights of LGBTQIA+ people and fighting against homotransphobia. The projects span very diverse areas, from providing services, to training and education, to culture and leisure.
→ Country: Portugal
→ Population: 193,333 (2021)
Municipal Youth Council
Braga’s Municipal Youth Council advises the Municipal Council on topics important to youth. Its goal is to align the needs of young people with the city’s priorities. To elevate youth issues, the Youth Council directly participates in, and contributes to, the political process. Braga has opened its political process to the opinions and needs of its young people. Braga’s Municipal Youth Council promotes an environment of dialogue. It ensures that the voices of young people are heard, and that their needs are reflected in municipal decisions.
The Braga Senior Academy is an educational and cultural project, promoted and managed by the City of Braga. It is open to all people aged 55 or over. The Academy hosts classes, courses and events which aim to support community connections, lifelong learning and healthy ageing. Braga’s Senior Academy is contributing to the inclusion and participation of seniors in Braga’s local democracy. It also improves seniors’ quality of life by expanding their knowledge and promoting a healthy spirit of networking and community.
Participatory Budgeting has successfully inspired more citizens to be active in the civic and political life of Braga. Together with the Municipal Youth Council, Braga has successfully run three public participative budgets for schools, the general population and young people. Participatory Budgeting makes the budgeting process more transparent and connects it to community networks. By inviting people into the political process, the City of Braga also contributes to the community spirit.
→ Country: Belgium
→ Population: 188,737 (2022)
Citizens were at the heart of the decision-making process for a new tramway line in Neder-Over-Heembeek, one of Brussels quarters. Two citizen panels integrated the steering committee. The first one co-decided the tram route and the second one co-decided the development proposals. The first stages of major infrastructure projects are often reserved for experts or political decision-makers. In the context of this project, we wanted to open up the debate very early on in the project by involving citizens in the initial technical discussions and by involving them transparently in the fundamental strategic decisions for its future development.
Good Move Pentagone is the local implementation of the mobility plan of the Brussels-Capital Region in the centre of the City of Brussels. Knowing that mobility is a particularly sensitive subject that brings together urban visions, travel habits and complex technical issues, the City of Brussels wanted to avoid the pitfall of polarised debates on the mobility measures and co-develop a new circulation scheme for a more accessible, vibrant city. Therefore, we asked the citizens about their needs and wishes, where problems or limitations arise, and we suggested that they document the traffic flow using a citizen-science device.
Redeveloping the Square with Pupils
As part of the planned redevelopment of the square Nouveau Marché aux Grains, the City of Brussels organised eight workshops with the surrounding schools. We wanted to encourage young people to put together their ideal square. We did this by using Lego blocks and a maquette (model) to stimulate their imagination. By organising site meetings on the square itself, we wanted to gather input on the redevelopment from as many young people as possible who already use the square on a regular basis. Finally, a meeting with local residents and traders was held to ensure their perspectives and needs were also included in the design. https://fairebruxellessamen.be/processes/nieuwegraanmarkt
→ Country: Spain
→ Population: 175,234 (2020)
Proyecto Europa (Europe Project)
The Europe Project is an initiative that aims to help young people in the city master the English language and improve their ability to develop a successful personal and professional career. It is a commitment to talent and the future of the city. The council distributes 100 scholarships with all expenses paid to study English in an English-speaking country among the best students in the city. The prizes are distributed equally among all educational centres in Burgos, public and private, located across the city’s neighbourhoods, both humble and wealthy. The young students live together in their destination regardless of their social background, learning English outside of Spain.
Burgos is the capital of Castile, land of castles, a region in the centre of Spain. Plan Castillo not only aims to restore the fortress of Burgos, but also to regenerate the neighbouring area and integrate it into the city. The castle of Burgos will become one of the main tourist attractions as well as a recreational area for the residents of the city. Protecting heritage by making it part of the regeneration of the city and attractive to locals and visitors alike is about converting the main places in the city into areas accessible to all on which the fabric of the city itself is built.
Burgos Río is a city project with great transformative potential. The Arlanzón River runs through the city, from East to West, and articulates city life. The interaction between the river and the city must be planned in the long term, and the flora and fauna of Arlanzón are exceptional and must be protected. Burgos Río intends to act comprehensively, with a long-term view, along the entire river system of the city according to the needs and conditions of each section. After centuries being “humanised” the Arlanzón must recover part of its initial natural appearance. Burgos Río is also an initiative with great potential for promoting the city.
→ Country: Portugal
→ Population: 214,158 (2021)
Vida Cascais: Local Health and Solidarity System (SL3S)
Cascais is committed to building a modern, local welfare state, with health as a strategic area, using the digital revolution as a tool to connect its community. Vida Cascais is a multi-sectoral, innovative and pioneering network which promotes and facilitates the enjoyment of human rights, through access to local health and social solidarity services (SL3S). It is a joint effort between the central state, local government, social partners and civil society, aiming for greater equity and social cohesion. Vida Cascais allows citizens, via the internet, to access healthcare without triage, queues or overloading the National Health Care System. The platform offers more than 45 health services, social support, wellness and active ageing solutions that will grow organically and improve over time.
Youth Participatory Budget
The Youth Participatory Budget (YPB), which has now been running for over five years, was originally initiated by a young student to allow students to voice their opinion on the development of their schools and city. We want to promote among our young citizens the idea that their voice can play an important role in the future of our society and, although they cannot vote yet, that their opinions are valuable and should be heard by our community. Starting at the age of 12, students are actively involved through the school’s participatory budget. Each school has a 10,000 EUR budget for implementing its selected ideas, and they can even propose that their projects are included in the city’s Participatory Budget.
Terras de Cascais – Together by our Roots
Terras de Cascais is a programme that gives new life to natural spaces and promotes organic, urban cultivation. It aims to bring people back together, reconnecting our community with nature and helping them to grow fresh, healthy, organic produce. This project is rooted in the idea that local, seasonal and organic food should be accessible to all. It promotes the use of natural resources to improve social cohesion and to bring about an increased awareness of future development challenges. Terras de Cascais represents a solid brand, where families cultivate their piece of land in a sustainable way. It includes community vines and orchards, and vegetable gardens in schools and day centres. It stands as an inspiring case in the field of policy and programme development, promoting sustainable agricultural production in Portugal and around the world.
→ Country: Poland
→ Population: 195,871 (2021)
The BeeFriendly project was created in response to the decline of the wild bee population. The main aim of the project was shaping bee-friendly attitudes among the residents, for example by sensitising them to the presence of bees in our environment and their role, actively supporting bees through education, buying houses for wild pollinators, planting bee-attracting plants, and creating new habitats. Thanks to these simple activities, we can contribute to the growth of the bee population. The project was supported by Visegrad Grant and created by V4 cities – Rzeszów (Poland), Nyiregyhaza (Hungary), Kosice and Stropkov (Slovakia) – with Rzeszów the lead city for the project.
We Are the City
The City of Rzeszów, in cooperation with its residents, launched the We Are the City project aimed at engaging the community to submit ideas for micro city innovations. The project promotes the participation of residents in the implementation of solutions in areas affecting quality of life in the city, creating more modern, friendly and green urban spaces for residents of the city. The submitted ideas respond to global challenges, with the main goal of the project being to also involve citizens in the implementation of their ideas.
Rzeszów’s Incubator of Culture
Rzeszów’s Incubator of Culture, Rzeszowski Inkubator Kultury, RIK, is a long-term project implemented by Estrada Rzeszowska (cultural institution). Its mission is to support grassroots cultural, social and animation-based initiatives and activities in Rzeszów and the region. This is done by organising meetings, training sessions, workshops, discussions, artistic events and partnerships, which are intended to influence the development of future creators and consumers of culture. For this purpose, RIK offers its own activities as well as training and workshop programmes, both for individuals and groups seeking to expand their cultural knowledge and skills.
→ Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
→ Population: 275,524 (2013)
The National Minorities project seeks to strengthen the capacities and increase the visibility of Savajevo’s various communities of national minorities. Language courses in the national minorities’ languages are offered, and newspapers are also published in these languages. In addition, the cuisine of these minority communities is promoted and their culture celebrated through various cultural events.
The ACCESS Project – Smart Sarajevo
The ACCESS project strengthens access to rights for women through engagement with the city’s authorities. The project includes workshops, conferences and open days. The goal of the project is to empower women and to make it easier for women to access their rights through the cooperation of local authorities, civil society and citizens. Mutual understanding and cooperation between local authorities and the community as a whole will be strengthened through project activities.
Centre for Healthy Ageing
Sarajevo focuses its attention on senior citizens through its Centres for Healthy Ageing. These Centers offer different daily activities for senior citizens, such as exercise classes, courses on various skills and subjects, social gatherings, day trips and other activities which improve their quality of life.
→ Country: Portugal
→ Population: 103,084 (2022)
Youth Participatory Budget
The Youth Participatory Budgeting (YPB) of Valongo is a tool used as a participatory instrument that allows young people between the ages of 6 and 35 to participate by presenting ideas and projects that make a difference in their community. It allows us to support participants in discovering and working on critical thinking, free will, decision making and participation. It also allows the participants to understand the decision-making mechanisms of a democratic society, and even to work on very important tools for their future lives, such as the ability to speak in public. In Valongo, the YPB is already in its 10th edition, with a 100% rate of realising projects and a high degree of satisfaction from the citizens.
More Enlightened Community, More Participatory Community
This project aims to promote a participatory culture, encouraging citizens to get involved in community life and local politics. Through implementing this project, we seek to increase citizens’ trust in their elected representatives and other public institutions. We do this through promoting the accountability, transparency and accuracy of information available to citizens. In this way, we manage to create the basis for healthy participation in the decision-making processes that we want to make more open and transparent. We work to strengthen the sense of mutual responsibility between citizens, elected representatives and communities, so that everyone knows their duties, rights and the active role they can play, and how they can contribute to building the community they want to be part of.
Valongo 4.0 – The Future Built by Valongo’s Children and Young People
This participatory process allows the children and young people of Valongo to participate in the second revision of the Municipal Master Plan of Valongo, which is a fundamental legal instrument in land management that defines the strategic framework for territorial development of the municipality and serves as a reference for the preparation of various municipal plans. In this way, children and young people have been able to participate in the reflection on the future of the territory they inhabit, including their voice in a broad participatory and multigenerational dynamic.
For more information on the ECoD City Network, please contact: Martina Fürrutter, email@example.com, +43 670 2086 889.