Our work in the EUARENAS project in 2022

It has been a pretty animated year for our colleagues working on the EUARENAS project. The consortium has reached the halfway point of the project and work in most work packages is either completed or in full swing. Eutropian is involved in WP3, case study research, in WP4, piloting, and WP5 foresight, all of which have been busy this year.

After finalising our case study on the Office of Community Participation in Józsefváros at the end of 2021, we have continued our work in WP3 by delving deeper into the Jószefváros case. We’ve conducted a focus interview study to assess the impact of the integration of the Office into the municipality structure and with it, a heightened emphasis on the aspect and practice of participation in local governance and policymaking. The study yielded valuable insights for WP3 and the broader consortium, as well as the Municipality of Józsefváros and the Office of Community Participation.

In WP4, we have continued guiding pilot cities in carrying out their participatory processes. Additionally, we’ve started the collection of the materials for the development of the Participatory Toolbox, our main contribution to WP4. Initial ideas were presented during the Reggio Emilia meeting in May. After the presentation and feedback received there by partners, we finalised the initial draft of the toolbox. In October, we ran a workshop that aimed to better align the toolbox to the needs of cities. In the workshop, we explored possible additional dimensions in order to receive another round of feedback before finalising the structure and methodology of the toolbox. These results were also shared during the Gdansk meeting at the end of November and by December 2022, we have a clear methodology and structure of the toolbox and a list of cases/tools to be included. 

In the framework of WP5, as part of a series of future-thinking research activities connected to the EUARENAS project, we connected different experts from policy, research and practice to explore the future of democracy in Italy. We looked at social media posts from social movements and activists to identify signals about future trends, agendas and directions connected to the broad topic of democracy. Initially, we set up a padlet, a platform that we populated with 50+ social media posts from the social media accounts that were previously selected. The social media posts selected were related to democracy, participatory and deliberative processes, citizen involvement in local decision-making/action/changemaking and related topics. Experts were asked to interact with this padlet putting likes or adding comments underneath identifying key issues, visions or directions for the future in consecutive rounds and these reviews were then collected, analysed and concluded and written up into a study report.

EUARENAS is a Horizon2020 project. It looks at different ways and means to include citizens into municipality-level decision making through the use of different participatory mechanisms and tools, tackling contemporary challenges of cities. The project includes municipalities from four pilot cities: Voru, Gdansk, Budapest and Reggio Emilia, as well as a number of organisations and universities from other European countries. 

For more information visit the project website.