60 panelists, 36 hours of meetings, 6 days of meetings, pass on the knowledge and discuss in groups. As a result – 55 recommendations for the city with regard to reducing smog. The innovative on a Poland’s scale a new democratic process – the citizens’ panel in Lublin has come to an end. The main question was: „What can be done to improve the quality of the air we breathe in Lublin?”
Participatory innovations Lublin is the second city in Poland to benefit from the formula of a citizens’ panel. The city of Gdańsk has already hosted three panels devoted to various issues of great importance to the citizens. Hence Lublin is the pioneering city, open to social innovations involving the citizens in the decision-making process. The citizens’ panel in Lublin focused around the quality of air – an important issue in Poland due to year-to-year winter smog problems. The panelists came round to recommendations in several areas: heating (burning coal in furnaces, thermomodernisation of buildings, etc.), transportation, spatial planning and urban greenery.
60 citizens against smog In the first place the citizens were picked at random. Secondly, 12 000 invitations were sent and out of the number of people who granted their participation in the project, 60 panelists were selected by a roll of the dice. The choice of panelists corresponded with the demographic profile of the city, taking such factors as gender, age, education and place of residence into account. The selected panelists were assigned the task of in-depth analysing the solutions aiming to facilitate the quality of air in the city. Other citizens of Lublin could also take the stand by submitting their comments or proposals to the panelists.
6 meetings The first three meetings constituted educational phase, during which the panelists familiarized themselves with the views from experts, the City Office representatives, as well as the standpoints of parties such as NGOs and non-formal groups dealing with transportation, heating solutions, and land management and planning. On the consecutive meetings the participants of the citizens’ panel discussed over the possible solutions to facilitate air quality, which would later be recommended to the mayor.
55 out of 250 recommendations The panelists in their proceedings relied on the recommendations delivered by the experts and the representatives of the parties as well as citizens. They could also come up with their own propositions. On the sixth day the citizens’ panel had to choose the final set of recommendations aiming at improving air quality in Lublin. The panelists faced a difficult task of deciding on almost 250 recommendations in the field of heating, transportation, urban planning, greenery, procedures alongside educational and informative actions. 55 recommendations reached the support of 80% of members of the citizens’ panel, which was considered biding to be put into implementation. At present, after consultations with various units of the City Office and another panelists’ meeting, there are ready propositions to implement the recommendations.
Upon recommendation of the Lublin City Office the citizens’ panel was organised by Agnieszka Duda-Jastrzębska and Marta Nazaruk-Napora (Lublin Research Group) in collaboration with Marcin Gerwin, PhD, the specialist on deliberative democracy, and with Maria Jagaciak and Katarzyna Pliszczyńska, the facilitators from The Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard”
Short video: https://youtu.be/30nk_xkusEA Website (Polish only): https://www.lublin.eu/mieszkancy/partycypacja/panel-obywatelski/