This was the fourth session for the EMPIRIAE CIVIC CITIES AND TOWNS Network. Over the past year, we succeeded in visiting locations which had prioritised engaging in open dialogue with local residents: Tarnów, Konin and the TriCity (Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot) area.
As formerly suggested by attendants, the autumn workshop at the Cieszyn Castle explored specific challenges faced by cities and towns of the open governance area. Who and how should notify local residents of failure? How to become more effective at communicating with young people? How to get local residents interested in a specific theme and reach them with consultation-related information? Should social media fake news be addressed – if yes, how? Such were some of the topics raised in open discussion.
Individual cities and towns presented good practices, and potentially inspirational success stories. We heard descriptions of the Cieszyn School of Crafts, Business Breakfasts in Zabrze, and research walks in Rydułtowy and Żary. We talked openly about the importance of developing the civic budget mechanism as a method of getting local residents involved in decision-making processes regarding their own surroundings.
We will also remember Cieszyn as a location which had brought two EMPIRIAE teams together. Our participants requested that we meet with the LEADERS’ NETWORK. We mentioned examples of activities pointing to open governance benefits, while also discussing endeavours which had prolonged decision-making processes, discouraging similar initiatives. A list of interesting conclusions and practical guidelines was drafted.