With the message Shape Brussels – create solutions for your city and burst the bubbles, collective intelligence workshop was held on the 1st of April. The idea behind the initiative is to bring democracy back to the people, in an inclusive, challenging, fun workshop – where citizen’s propositions can make Brussels history. In connection with the Flemish and Walloon Governments, the experimental workshop aims at advancing new ways of participatory democracy to design policy proposals together and make Brussels a better city.
Another goal is to connect the people and break the bubbles – locals, newbies, almost-locals were all invited to take part in this workshop which dealt with following issues: What is attractive/not attractive about Brussels? How do you experience Brussels? Do you feel connected to the city and its inhabitants? How can we strengthen the city?
Some interesting answers came out from these discussions and as seen on the photo that was posted in the event’s page on Facebook – participants gave very diverse answers:
“I feel more connected to the city than to its inhabitants”;
“No, I don’t speak French so I only hangout with expats like me. People are always coming and going in my bubble”;
“In general Yes! I don’t really feel that there are any ‘closed communities’ in this city”;
“I feel more connected with expats community than local inhabitants , even if I used to to ‘try’ to approach them.”
The need to start working together was emphasized – in order to give citizens a stronger voice, meet at a same table where different initiatives and movements can all work together – between each other and also with decision makers – so that there can be a serious impact at reshaping Brussels.
One of the organizers explained that this was a first event, of a group of citizens, who found a link to a political decision making and proactively took the initiative / opportunity to:
1 – bring collective intelligence activation to democratic participation
2 – connect these discussions to actual political implementation (which is often lacking)
3 – experiment with participatory democracy at a local scale, measure the pulse of people (are they interested, will they come, what else do they suggest?)
4 – learn how to self-organize, mobilize, activate and facilitate initiatives like this
5 – bring expats to the table as well
Finally, organizers pledged to find ways of working better, participating more, and imagining, designing and implementing structures to bring people back to democracy, support a grassroots emergence, and more of these initiatives can emerge.