Turku/Åbo deliberates, what is it?
Are there enough bicycle paths in Turku? Do the buses come and go often enough? Is the city centre available for persons with disabilities? Are there enough parking lots? Can children move safely on their own in the city centre? The city of Turku is preparing a new general plan for 2029, and wants to hear its citizen’s experiences, opinions and goals regarding the traffic in the city centre. In the project, Turku deliberates, the citizens of Turku and their opinions regarding the traffic arrangements in the centre are studied. The results from the project are handed over to the city council. The city council will discuss the general plan this year.
What is a mini-public?
The group of representative citizens that assemble for a citizen’s discussion take on a societal issue and discuss this issue in small groups with help from a schooled moderator. The mini-public participants hear different opinions, acquire objective background information, and then adequately consider this in an equal manner. Mini-publics provide decision-makers with a proxy of a well-informed and broad public opinion. Mini-publics and other similar deliberative endeavors deepen and strenghten representative democracy. Their purpose is to increase the public’s involvement in public debate and decision-making. Mini-publics have during the past years been broadly used in different areas in different levels of administration, for instance in environmental questions, mergers of municipalities, and in moral questions.
Where and when?
The mini-public will be arranged in early May as an online deliberation. The participants will discuss in small groups, from home, via a webcam and microphone, traffic planning in the city centre.
Who arranges the event?
Turku keskustelee is arranged by Åbo Akademi University in collaboration with the city of Turku and Tampere University. The projects main funder is the Turku Urban Research Programme.
Who can participate?
A random sample of 12.000 citizens have received an invitation to the mini-public. All citizens at the age of 15 – 79, who live in Turku, have had an equal chance of receiving an invitation to the discussions. All of those who have received an invitation can sign up as volunteers, to participate in the mini-public by answering and sending back the survey on 14th of April 2020 at the latest. You can do it either online or by post (Alas, the survey is not open to all citizens). Of those who have volunteered to participate, 172 participants are randomly, but with regards to age, sex and district, selected to the mini-public. The goal is to have such a diverse group as possible. More information concerning the date is given to the participants at the end of April.