Places for People: Land use policy strategies for urban futures

On their travels throughout Germany and the US, the Networked Governance and Democracy working group observed how land use is an underlying factor in almost, if not all policy solutions for urban progress. Inspired by conversations from the trip as well as personal and professional experience, the following action paper details three methods of civic engagement that can weave legitimacy and justice into land use policy across cities in Germany, the United States, and beyond. 

The "Pop Parliament" as new model for citizen engagement

The fellow’s main method is the “Pop Parliament”. Inspired by citizen assemblies they have encountered, the fellows propose a new form of citizen assembly model. The Pop Parliament will give participants real decision-making power over land use decisions and will broadly represent local residents through a randomized selection. The purpose of the Pop Parliament would be to give a meaningful, formalized, and accessible role for residents to collaborate with local government actors to better shape their cities. Read the action below for all the details. 

Promoting citizen participation beyond the nation state

To bring even more people into the international conversation, the group also proposes an international democracy festival between Germany and the United States. Too often foreign policy matters and international debate feel overly complicated and disconnected from people’s everyday lives. We need to bring vitality and excitement into democracy and decision making. We need to reach people that governments continuously fail to engage especially on foreign policy, such as young people.  Celebratory events can instill a sense of belonging, community, and a feeling of being on the same team.

"Whether dealing with exorbitant land prices and housing pressure or vacancies and population decline, cities would benefit from cross-border exchange of ideas to address these complex problems."

Authors of the Action Paper

  • Sinaida Hackmack is Strategy Consultant Public Sector at PD – Berater der öffentlichen Hand GmbH
  • Melanie Kryst is Program Manager “Fostering Knowledge Exchange” at the Berlin University Alliance
  • Grace Levin is a Master in Urban Planning Candidate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design