Citizens' juries on village development

09. September 2021 Uhr

Where does the South Tyrolean village of Schenna stand today? And how does the community want to develop in the future? These and similar questions are to be discussed by the citizens of Schenna in randomly selected citizens' juries.

The local councillors had already intensively discussed the upcoming topics in closed meetings. At the meetings, many questions came to the table that were burning under the nails of the people of Schnen. For example: How do we want to shape space and landscape in the future? What view do young people have of our village and how do they see the Schenna of the future? What does Schenna need as a place to work and do business? What needs to be done so that good coexistence can succeed?

"Schenna is at a turning point"

Local councillor Franz Daprá says: "I think Schenna is at a turning point." In Schenna, a great deal has been invested in infrastructure and educational facilities in recent years, and it is now a question of maintaining and expanding these infrastructures. "In addition, it is important to pay great attention to the coexistence of all population strata and age groups. The focus is also on issues such as mobility, sustainability, environmental and climate protection. At the same time, a healthy growth of the economy in the village must be allowed in order to maintain jobs."

The local council has expressed its support for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Now it is up to the citizens' juries to come up with concrete proposals for a socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable development of the community.

Four citizens' juries planned

The local council's goal is to have a village development concept ready by 2022. To this end, it is bringing the residents of the village on board. In November 2021, they will discuss the most important future issues and topics for Schenna in citizens' assemblies. The local council will decide which issues are to be discussed. Four such citizens' juries are planned. In addition, there will be two juries of clubs and associations, which will also discuss the topics that the local council has set.

"The results of the citizens' juries and the juries of clubs and associations are the basis for further work on the village concept by the municipal council. The citizens advise us," explains Mayor Annelies Pichler. Participants in the citizens' jury do not need to have any special prior knowledge. "You are competent because you live in our village and help shape it day by day," says the mayor. In addition, experts will be present to advise the participants if necessary.

"Getting a lot of ideas"

"This way we get to know a very broad spectrum of needs, wishes, suggestions and ideas, and if you set the measures accordingly afterwards, many more people will support them," says Deputy Mayor Sepp Mair, explaining the purpose of the citizens' juries. "That is more successful in the long run. Besides, something better certainly comes out if we get a lot of ideas than if we only talk about it in the municipal council," Mair continues.

A public event is also expected to be held in January 2022 for all Schenner residents, at which the citizens' juries and the municipal council will present their work to date and the results.

Drawing from the register

A total of 48 people will be drawn from the municipality's register of residents to participate in the four citizens' juries working on the village concept. The age, gender and, if possible, the distribution according to parts of the municipality will be taken into account, so that the 48 citizens will represent Schenna on a small scale.

The citizens' juries will spend 1.5 days working on future issues for Schenna. The two juries of the clubs and associations will also meet on these days. These will not be randomly selected, but each association and club will send one representative to the juries.

Municipal council decides on concept

The results will be presented to the public in January 2022. Suggestions and ideas will be collected again. Afterwards, the municipal committee will continue to work on the results. At the end, the municipal council will adopt the concept together with a plan of action. The work should be completed in summer 2022.

Schenna is an Italian municipality located in South Tyrol with about 2,900 inhabitants. It is located about three kilometres northeast of Merano and about 25 kilometres northwest of Bolzano.

More information: Village development: Thinking ahead for Schenna