In the middle of Masaryk Square stands a gilded statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, standing on a stone plinth and guarded by a large stone banister. It is located in the centre of Prague and is decorated with a cast iron cross from 1872, and on the square there is a small chapel and a small bell. This statue (1699) is a simplified version of the church of St. John the Baptist, which stands on a hill in front of one of the oldest churches in Czechoslovakia, the church of St. Joseph.
Although Ricany’s current municipal leadership is independent and relatively new to institutional politics, it has shown a willingness to experiment with multiple channels to involve citizens more deeply in decision-making – and at the urban level. The city wishes to develop a more participatory, participatory and democratic approach to public policy and administration.
There is a huge fireplace heated by a gas stove, with air conditioning and an electric stove for heating. On the second floor there is an open kitchen with kitchenette, bathroom, office and living room. It is equipped with chest to chest ventilation and air conditioning, as well as a fully equipped kitchen.
Participatory budgeting is a very new phenomenon in Prague, with the 10th district in Prague conducting the first PB process ever conducted in early 2016. Progressive city leaders have invested heavily in public funds to realise their vision for the future of Rice City. Participatory budgeting has been a new phenomenon in the Czech Republic for many years, since it was implemented at the beginning of the year by the 11th district of the capital of Czechoslovakia, Prague. Participation in participatory budgeting (PB) is still a very new sensation in the Czech Republic, especially in cities like Prague.
The D21 team has given in – personally assisted by Ricany city leaders and administrative staff, as foreseen in the cooperation agreement formalised in May 2015. The Mayor’s team reports that the process as a whole has been running smoothly, even though it has not been as smooth as hoped and some important deadlines have not yet been met. This is because the city’s team learns directly from international experts in PB, raises their doubts and learns from best practices.
As for the efficiency goal, the city’s stakeholders report that they have been able to save as much time as possible and save money and resources. This includes data collection and ethical requirements, which Mayor Koren has accepted without resistance. Fourthly and lastly, we would like to benefit from the partners of the EMPATIA consortium who have carried out a high quality participation process, including the expertise gained by the D21 team in the planning and implementation of the PB project in Ricany.
After the planning workshops, the city administrator drew up a written internal plan that took into account feedback from partners and defined roles, responsibilities and timetables. D21 was then used to conduct the vote, impact assessment and survey. The ideas, which were reviewed by municipal employees, were then uploaded to the survey platform D 21. Finally, as requested by the city, they drew up the electoral programme for the voting phase and used it to carry out a detailed analysis of the results.
The pilot project is structured to integrate the EMPATIA platform with the main online tool prior to PB, which was the D21 election platform for Ridim Ricany’s (Ricany managed) initiatives. Simplicity in design and usability, including easy translation for Czech and municipal administrators, is of paramount importance. The information citizens provide to the Platform about their projects and ideas will serve as a summary form of the PB ballot paper, which will be presented to citizens in May 2017. As part of his commitment to renewing local democracy, Mayor Koren has expressed a desire to create a “Czech laboratory for multi-channel participation” as part of a democratic reform project launched in 2013 by his predecessor, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, and his successor, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, which will launch the first ever multi-channel campaign with participation.
Residents reported that several had inquired about the project and were surprised to hear that Ricany was part of an international consortium funded by the European Commission. Mayor Koren visited the city for the first time in April 2016, following the successful launch of the EMPATIA platform in May 2016. The simple pilot project will explore the potential for multi-channel participation in the city’s electoral process and its impact on citizens.