Mechelen between liveliness and peace

03. July 2021

In Mechelen, Belgium, a randomly selected citizens' panel has looked at how the city can be both a vibrant place and a municipality where there is room for peace and quiet. The administration of the city in the province of Antwerp, with its population of just over 86,600, will now address the panel's 84 recommendations.

The recommendations, handed over to the city on 1 July 2021, concern concrete measures to promote encounters between Mechelen's residents, create vibrant neighbourhoods, involve residents in events, communication, accessibility and design of quiet zones and the promotion of greenery and water as recreational zones.

Next steps

The city administration then analysed the recommendations. Which recommendations are in line with existing policy? Which are not? What are the prerequisites for realising the recommendations? In September 2021, the administration presented an action plan to the college of mayors and aldermen and the city council. The citizens' panel was then invited again and informed about the implementation of the recommendations. A comprehensive statement was drawn up on the 84 citizens' suggestions.

What was the citizens' panel?

The citizens' panel was a randomly selected group of 27 residents of Mechelen. For this purpose, 5,000 residents of the city were randomly selected from the population register who were at least 16 years old. Those drawn were invited to apply for the citizens' panel. From all the applications, 50 people were selected in such a way that they were a mirror image of the population of Mechelen in terms of gender, age, educational level, origin and neighbourhoods and villages. Of the 50 people selected, 27 ultimately took part in the citizens' panel.

During three half-days, the citizens' panel received information on its topic from six experts from Mechelen and other places. Afterwards, the panel participants discussed what they had heard, wrote down more than 100 proposals and voted on them. All proposals with a 2/3 majority are recommendations for the administration and the city council. The topic of the citizens' panel had been proposed by a group of experts and chairpersons of various council committees.

Learn more: Burgerpanel 2021