Empowering Citizens Through Collaborative Engagement

  • What tools can facilitate citizen participation in the security and liveability of public spaces?
  • What are examples of successful citizen engagement in maintaining public spaces safe and inclusive?
  • How can local authorities promote and empower citizen initiatives without jeopardising the role of law enforcement or other security actors?
  • What criteria are needed to sustain citizen engagement over time (political, economic, communications…)?

These were some of the questions discussed during the third session of the series of IcARUS with experts Thierry Charlois and Laeititia Wolff

The representatives of the IcARUS partner cities (Lisbon, Nice, Riga, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, and Torino) presented the security challenges on which they are focusing through the project: 

  • Finding a balance between the requirements of different groups of people in a city (e.g. elderly people and students)
  • Mobilising citizens (with a focus on young people)
  • Guaranteeing the fair representation of all

From curating common goals to creating spaces for exchange, the speakers concluded that citizen engagement can be enhanced through design thinking which promotes the hands-on involvement of citizens in the implementation of practical measures to improve the security of their cities

Such measures include focusing on: 

  •  Student populations
  •  Working with citizens rather than for them
  •  creating spaces of understanding and exchange.

A running theme across the experts’ interventions was the importance of promoting citizen engagement that goes both ways, that is to say, an invested interest, on the part of authorities, in the needs and desires of citizens. They also emphasised the importance of creating spaces where citizens can express themselves and feel seen and heard.