INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE ARCHIVIO DISARMO-IRIAD
Local administration - Presidency of the II Municipio di Roma Capitale
In a “civic desert” as the outskirt of Rome, we intend to give voice to the citizens and to encourage civic engagement. Through a deliberative method, the Citizens’ Jury, we’ll engage citizens on a locally rooted issue that matter to the community: the relationship between migrants and natives. More information and citizens’ involvement in local policies may facilitate dialogue and lead to more creative and shared solutions.
Tiburtina Railway Station Area (Rome, Italy).
The project aims to confront one of the most critical situations facing the city of Rome. The area around Tiburtina railway station, one of the most important railway junctions in the city, is in fact subject to serious forms of degradation. Since 2017, dozens of migrants and homeless have been camping along the eastern side of the station that has by now become an enormous talking point.
The residents of the area complain about the spread of micro- criminality, the absence of checks and abandonment on the part of the institutions. Recommendations and possible courses of action can emerge from a face to face between residents within a local context that is characterized by a social cohesion that is becoming ever less cohesive and by the scarce opportunity for civic participation.
To strengthen democracy and active citizenship in local communities we purpose a Citizens’ Jury (CJ) on a locally rooted issue as the social coexistence of immigrants and natives. A CJ is a small group of randomly selected citizens, representative of the demographics in the area, that come together to reach a collective decision or recommendation on a policy issue through informed deliberation. A CJ is a small enough group to help ensure genuine deliberation can take place, and utilizes a sample of the community to try and ensure that the group is sufficiently diverse and representative of the broader public. Decisions made by a group of citizens are more viewed as legitimate by the broader public, because the jury making the recommendation are everyday citizens as well.
CJ are deliberative processes, which emphasize the importance of deliberation and making collective decisions. Central is the use of a randomly selected group of citizens who are representative of the wider community in question so as to recreate a microcosm of the public. A random sample of everyday people is preferable to the ‘usual suspects’ that governments usually hear from.
Inherent to these processes is the provision of a range of perspectives and information, so that “jurors” can be fully informed. The jury will hear from a full range of perspectives rather than receive a one-sided view of the debate. Aside from the lay participants, CJ will involve a range of experts and stakeholders recruited to present information to the jury for their consideration.
Our project provide people with the opportunity to learn about the issue of coexistence, deliberate with a group of peers with different points of view,and develop well-informed and shared recommendations to address a complex challenges, such as relationships between natives and migrants.This process can help to restore legitimacy, hope, and trust to collective decision-making and the institutions we interact with every day.We believe we have the opportunity to reinvigorate citizen-driven change that will come from the diverse voices of the public.Further information
Approval of the project would allow us to carry out an experiment in deliberative democracy in an area now deprived of social cohesion and affected by a total disaffection towards politics. This experience would give citizens the confidence to be able to take an active part in a decisional process which, beyond the possible resolution of the specific problem in question, would reactivate civic participation and reinforce social cohesion. Such a mechanism would, at the same time, favor the promotion of an open and tolerant democratic culture in comparing different points of view. The experience of a CJ would, furthermore, reactivate a privileged channel of communication between citizens and local institutions that would also remain in existence at the end of the project activity.
The rise of nationalism at a European level together with a growing indifference of citizens towards politics risks favouring a regression in the form of democratic life of countries and of Europe, besides a dangerous distancing of citizens from the institutions. Experimenting with new forms of direct democracy therefore responds to the general need to stimulate a greater and more active participation by citizens in the decisional processes of their own country which increases the democratic legitimacy of the institutions. These participational tools furthermore contribute to reinforcing the political awareness of individual citizens, besides hindering any potential degeneration that could give rise to a sense of frustration at being excluded from the political choices of the country.
The area in which the project is proposed appears to be ever more characterised by substantial hardship and serious forms of social conflict which risk exploding given the Increasing absence of the institutions. The residents complain about the imposition of choices dropped on them from on high and, still more seriously, scarce communication on the part of the institutions regarding such choices in the area.
The project activity, therefore, responds to the urgent need of the citizens to feel listened to, to communicate their discomfort, to set aside a time and place for a face to face discussion between themselves and the institutions, so as to reach an agreed solution and to create an opportunity for civic engagement for themselves.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Office expenses: 3000
Personnel costs (project manager, researchers, experts, witnesses, facilitators, finance assistant ): 17.000
Recruitment of jurors (using a market research company): 4000
Honorarium for 25 jurors: 5.000 (100xday)
Venue hire/ catering (for two days): 4000
Press office: 2.000
Promotion materials: 5.000
Travel and accomodation costs (for jurors and experts/ witnesses): 4.000
Final event: 2.500
We would like to get ideas and advice about how to improve the quality of the proposed activity, as well as suggestions for improving the contents of the project in other territorial areas and obtaining optimal results. Thanks in advance!