Tengen and the city of Brandis near Leipzig want to work together to shape their future. To this end, the guiding principles created through ongoing citizen processes need to be updated. “In the meantime, many projects and plans have been implemented from the mission statements. However, new challenges have emerged in the area of digitization and climate protection, also due to the experience of the corona pandemic”, explains the mayor of Tengen, Marian Schreier. Therefore, the declarations of intent in Tengen and Brandis now need to be revised. And again together with citizenship. The novelty: a lottery procedure should also directly involve residents who have barely or not participated in such processes. About 35 people will be drawn by lot according to the population register.
The citizens drawn will be contacted
“We write to these people. We visit those who don’t get in touch at home to do something convincing. But it should also create closeness. It is also important to engage in dialogue with citizens, ”says Schreier. After a face-to-face and online participation scheduled for February 2022, in which all residents of Tengen and the districts can take part, the people drawn should be able to submit ideas and suggestions once as an unofficial city council.
The federal government supports the project
Supported by the “Es geht Los” initiative, mayors Arno Jesse and Marian Schreier, together with citizens, want to integrate the experiences of the corona pandemic and parallel social developments, such as climate change and digitization, into their existing municipal models. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior as part of the Open Government Laboratory with a total of 82,000 euros, divided between the two cities.
Important questions should be clarified
“This process is not only exciting in terms of content, it will also promote democratic participation,” says Arno Jesse, mayor of Brandis. “We are currently very concerned about a crown incidence number exceeding 1400,” said Jesse. For him and Schreier, joint action is also about: How do people in the south-west and east of the republic experience their politics? What lessons and conclusions do the residents draw from this? And how does the self-image change when there is an active exchange with citizens in other parts of the republic? These questions need to be clarified with scientific support.
The goal of “Looking for the future together” is not just to do it with the usual suspects. With “Es geht Los” the two cities are collaborating with an organization that has already started and implemented several innovative participation processes.
The mayors of Tengen and Brandis see themselves structurally similar in a rural region. “But we are lagging behind in terms of purchasing power,” emphasizes Arno Jesse, who grew up in Bremerhaven and only moved to the eastern regions much later. He has been mayor of Brandis since 2013. For Marian Schreier, important objects in the implementation of the “Tengen 2030” concept are the completed construction and operation of the cooperative medical center with broad public participation. The starting signal was also given for the citizens’ palace and there are many other improvements that the mission statement process has initiated.
After the on-site procedure, a digital exchange between interested citizens of Brandis and Tengen should take place through an online conference, where participants can exchange their participation experiences and learn from each other. The project will be completed with a final event in Berlin.
The city of Brandis
The city of Brandis is about 20 kilometers from Leipzig and has nearly 10,000 inhabitants. The city recently received the first prize of 30,000 euros in a Saxon municipal competition with 49 participants entitled “Ab durch die Mitte”. The city center with the market square should become the living room of the city of Brandis and its neighborhoods: this was the basic idea for the application. The reasoning of the award jury states, among other things: “With its design contribution, the city, together with its stakeholders, chooses a multifunctional approach for its center”. Initiators rely on opportunities and generate them to their new downtown strength. The only point of sale is in the city center: the school campus with an elementary school, a high school and a high school. More than 1,400 children and young people are educated there, come every day to the city center, model it and also bring parents, relatives and friends there.