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Democracy Lab a Barcelona

#ciutat DemocracyBCN

17 Sep - 19 Sep


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Examples: A conference can be a relevant event for an organization and its members, or take place as part of a participatory process or follow a consultation.


The Democracy Lab brings together local government officials and democracy practitioners from across Europe to promote collaborative problem-solving and democratic innovation at the local level.


The first edition of Nets4Dem’s Democracy Lab will take place in the city of Barcelona from September 17-19, 2024, and will bring together local government officials and democracy practitioners from across Europe to promote collaborative problem-solving and democratic innovation at the local level. The aim is to develop innovative ideas that can empower citizens to participate in decision-making processes, giving them a voice on the challenges facing society. For the first edition of the Democracy Lab, organized by Eurocities and host city Barcelona as part of the European Capital of Democracy, participants will focus on "Democratic Innovation in Digital Transformation."

How does the Democracy Lab work?

Selected city and town representatives will come to the Lab with a challenge they face. For the first event in Barcelona, this will be a digital challenge. They will work in a small team of peers, assisted by a facilitator, to design actionable, ready-to-implement democratic interventions to bring back to their administrations. During this creative effort, the team will be assisted by mentors: democracy experts and practitioners from the Nets4Dem network, host city staff, and local stakeholders. To ensure learning exchange and breadth of perspectives, participants will take part in study visits and speak with local community members.

How can cities get involved at this stage?

Registration for the first event in Barcelona opens in June. At this stage, we are asking interested cities to submit a democratic challenge they are facing in relation to digital transformation. The plan will be for this challenge to be discussed during the Barcelona event. If you are interested in submitting your challenge, please read the guidelines and fill out this online form.

What are the key goals of Democracy Lab?

Democracy Lab aims to empower cities to address complex societal challenges in a democratic spirit by facilitating peer collaboration, enhanced by the involvement of experts and communities affected by the issue. This way, we aim to encourage policymakers to view issues from diverse perspectives and engage directly with citizens. This process enables a holistic understanding of the issues and ensures solutions are rooted in real-world experiences.

Leveraging expertise from the Nets4Dem network and host city’s practice, the Lab provides a unique opportunity for city staff members to co-create action plans alongside diverse partners, including peers, democracy innovation experts from civil society organizations and academia, and community representatives.

More information

Three Democracy Labs will take place during the Nets4Dem project duration in 2024-2025. The first edition will be held in Barcelona in September, with the other two events planned for 2025. Each edition will be hosted by a different city and dedicated to a different democratic challenge. Solutions developed during the Democracy Lab will be featured in a Democratic Innovation Toolbox, which will be based on the outcomes of the initiative. The toolbox, which will be available towards the end of the initiative, will be an open-source digital dissemination resource encompassing policy recommendations for embracing democratic innovations and promoting impactful real-life approaches. Cities participating in a Lab will also be entitled to compete for the Democratic Innovation Award, granted towards the end of the Nets4Dem project (mid-2026).

About Nets4Dem

Nets4Dem is a novel initiative to foster collaboration among practitioners, policymakers, and researchers across Europe to enhance civic deliberation, participation, and democratic innovation. Recognising the pressing need for democratic renewal in the face of challenges such as citizen dissatisfaction, polarization, and technological disruptions to civic discourse, Nets4Dem seeks to address these issues by facilitating better connections, collaboration, and knowledge dissemination. The initiative was launched with the support of the EU's Horizon Europe programme. 

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