The incubator for participatory democracy is based on an alliance of democracy innovators, brought together by the Council of Europe at the World Forum for Democracy and co-ordinated by The Democratic Society. Its purpose is to connect city governments in Europe and beyond with democracy innovators to replicate and scale up democratic innovations.

It is made up of local government institutions, mostly city councils, interested in developing or further developing their practice on participatory democracy. Alongside them, a number of innovation partners support and accelerate the development of ideas. The Incubator members collectively hold the vision and work to support its development. Next meeting will be on Sunday 18th November in Strasbourg, before the formal opening of WFD 2018.

Cities can join the Incubator by demonstrating a willingness to engage in participative innovation, some track record of success and a brief written self-assessment exercise. Once in the Incubator they can work with others in the Incubator who are working on similar problems and receive mutual assistance and support from the innovation partners, for example for local ‘town hall’ meetings to bring together local people and organisations interested in participation.


Incubator objectives

The incubator should help civil servants and political decision-makers in cities build an open infrastructure to boost democracy for smart, inclusive and innovative cities. It should be strongly goal-oriented. It has five main objectives:

  • To bring together local governments and democracy innovators from different cultural and demographic perspectives in a network of mutual support.
  • To reduce duplicated effort on development and research around participative democracy by encouraging collaboration and developing linked participation methods in a wide range of settings.
  • To accelerate the spread of participative democracy both within local governments and the democratic innovation community.
  • To improve democracy development and human rights in local government, supporting the goals of the Council of Europe, the cities and the innovation partners.
  • To research, measure and improve the quality of participation and democracy at local, national and European level.

If you are interested or want to know more please email to the Democratic Society or Piotr Walczak.

participating cities

Amsterdam (Netherlands)

 Antwerpen (Belgium)

Arnsberg (Germany)

Bolton (United Kingdom)

Bonn (Germany)

Bucharest (Romania)

Falun (Sweden)

 Genk (Belgium)

Ghent (Belgium)

Katowice (Poland)

Kirklees (United Kingdom)

Lisbon (Portugal)

Lublin (Poland): report

Madrid (Spain)

Messina (Italy)

Neapoli-Sykies (Greece): report

Ovruch (Ukraine): report

Reykjavik (Iceland)

Participating experts