Skip to main content

Enriching transformation processes with citizen participation

Why the active involvement of citizens is essential.

A cargo bicycle.
Living Lab Riksten opened in September 2022.

An important point of departure for our work in Mistra SAMS is that a multitude of actors need to be involved in order to steer society towards a socially just and sustainable transport system. The active involvement of citizens in the transformation processes is crucial for several reasons. For one thing, citizens bring new ideas and real-world experiences. Citizen involvement is also critical for shedding light on questions concerning justice, and for building legitimacy for controversial policy measures. To serve these purposes, citizen participation must be integrated into current planning processes, and these processes must include dialogue with various groups and a way for those citizens to give feedback on planning outcomes.

The outcomes of living labs and experiments that test for example new mobility services in a specific context should ideally influence ongoing planning processes. In Mistra SAMS, we have initiated a series of policy workshops to analyse what we’ve learned from Living Lab Riksten and pave the way for citizen participation as a means to enrich transformation processes.

Workshops connecting research and the municipality

In 2022 we conducted two workshops with key stakeholders in Botkyrka municipality. In the first workshop, we explored which methods could be suitable for promoting sustainable mobility and accessibility in Riksten. The workshop showed that citizen participation (such as participating in a living lab, being interviewed, or attending public hearings) gives crucial insights, we identified the policy lab process and output of Living Lab Riksten as important subjects for future workshops and collaborations. Our aim with these workshops is to build a bridge between the lessons learned from the living lab and the municipality’s day- to-day planning processes.

In 2023, we plan to present our findings to Botkyrka from the focus group conversations with Riksten citizens regarding their roles in the transition, as well as how the living lab participants responded to the challenges they were given in the SAMSAS app.