How do we shape a future fit for grandchildren in our municipality? This is the question that randomly selected citizens in ten German municipalities are addressing this summer and autumn. Under the umbrella of the LOSLAND (Land of Lots) project, these ten cities and municipalities from all over Germany are working in parallel on the implementation of sortition-based future councils.
On 17 and 18 June, citizens of Ottersberg near Bremen will meet in a future council to discuss how children, young adults and older people can continue to feel at home in Ottersberg in the future. The participants were randomly selected from the municipality's population register. In addition to Ottersberg, Augustusburg, Coesfeld, Gütersloh, Homberg (Efze), Leupoldsgrün, Lindau am Bodensee, Ludwigsfelde, Rietschen and Varel are also participating in the LOSLAND project.
Contributing perspectives, knowledge and ideas
"The future councils in the LOSLAND municipalities enable citizens to contribute their perspectives, their ideas and their knowledge about their place. New communal spaces are created in which citizens can discuss their coexistence beyond filter bubbles and develop recommendations for politics," Claudine Nierth, national board spokesperson of the association "Mehr Demokratie", explains the purpose of the project.
Mehr Demokratie is the sponsor of this democracy project, cooperation partner is the Institute For Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS Potsdam). The whole project is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (BpB). "Communicative negotiation processes are necessary between people who perhaps believe they have nothing to say to each other - or don't want to hear anything from each other," says Thomas Krüger, President of the BpB, explaining the support.
"Preventing disenchantment with politics"
The mayors of the ten participating municipalities are enthusiastic. "The common good must once again become a stronger focus of discussion among citizens. And that can only be achieved with more citizen participation," says Andreas Igel, mayor of Ludwigsfelde in Brandenburg. Annika Popp, mayor of the Bavarian municipality of Leupoldsgrün, argues along the same lines: "If you let people participate, take them seriously and listen to them, you can also prevent disenchantment with politics."
In addition to the randomly selected citizens, all interested residents can discuss the respective topics of the ten Future Councils in public Future Forums. The last Future Council will take place in Lindau on Lake Constance in mid-October. "After the future councils have taken place, the elected local councils will deal with their proposals. We assume that good ideas from the citizens will then be implemented," says Mehr Demokratie national board spokesperson Claudine Nierth.