Borders to Cross brings together innovative examples of democratic innovation and civic driven change in and around Europe. Over 100 initiatives have applied to our open call for innovative practices and dilemmas and 40 are chosen as the most inspiring and innovative. Questions and dilemmas that these initiatives encounter on a micro level are the basis of the learning community at Borders to Cross. We will also reflect beyond these daily practices and look at the bigger picture of the transition that fosters democratic innovation and civic driven change.
Look around below and meet these initiatives already today and start exchanging in our LinkedIn community. Or download a summary of the Borders to Cross 2013 initiatives here.
Sàrsan: from the city of exception to the pidgin city
Started by Ngo’s and researchers from the University, this project attempts to improve the lives of Roma people in Sàrsan, Italy who are living in Camps that looks like slums, without proper services, high rates of unemployment, environmental problems and diseases. By creating an Incremental Open Dialogue process to tackle discrimination policies and behaviors, it demonstrated that an alternative way of solving conflicts, is possible. It is about creating channels of communication and common conviviality among Roma people staying in “ Equipped camps” from the municipality, and the citizens of the surrounding neighborhoods.
DemCop is a network of well motivated young professionals working on and experiencing new ways of participation in European democracies. Its central goal is to advance the state of inclusive democratic governance and citizenship practices in the EU, in theory and practice, through immediate political action and long-term capacity building. More specifically, it provides a platform for knowledge exchange among practitioners in the field and provides a co-learning space, for improving skills and practices through collaborative design and direct execution of concrete political actions (e.g. public debates, performances, protests).
Public debate waste management
The French National Commission of Public Debate (CNDP) organized a public debate in the south of Paris between September and December 2009. It was devoted to an old waste treatment facility and discussed the appropriateness of transforming the industrial plant into a modern methanisation unit which would produce gas along with heat. An ad hoc commission was set up and citizens attended nine public meetings to discuss this issue. An innovative participatory website was set up including a blog which also offered filmed interviews, collaborative meeting reports and a Q&A system to prolong the debate online.
Citizens in the western part of Amsterdam started this initiative after a brutal murder of a shop owner in their neighbourhood. Their aim was to support the local shopkeepers by convincing the local inhabitants to go to the local shops again. This resulted in many positive practices: pop-up stores in the street, a vibrant Facebook community with more than 4500 likes and the start of a ‘shopping street cooperative’ consisting of as well inhabitants as entrepreneurs.
This Macedonian innovative practice is about municipal committees that have been established for the inclusion of non-majority ethnic groups in decision making processes at municipal level. The Community Development Institute and its partners managed to convince the municipalities that the establishment of these committees is not only a legal obligation but that it will provide them with big benefits and will reduce inter-ethnic tensions, especially in war affected areas from 2001. It is for the first time that an institutional mechanism for the protection of the rights of the ethnic minorities on local level was introduced in the Republic of Macedonia.