We’re pleased to announce that the Urban Institute have now joined the International Observatory of Participatory Democracy (IOPD) network as a collaborating member.

The IOPD is a network of more than 800 cities (91 countries), that want to know, exchange and apply experiences of participatory democracy in the local area to deepen democracy in the government of cities. The network has two kinds of members: associate members from local and regional governments, and collaborate members from civil society organisations and research centers that work around participatory democracy.

Our participation has been catalysed by the The Realising Just Cities (RJC) team, part of the Sheffield’s Urban Institute, who are are working on a series of action research projects focused on how citizens can be meaningfully involved in everyday urban decision-making. From energy infrastructure to spatial frameworks, Realising Just Cities’ research is striving to understand and champion ‘strong’ forms of coproduction that help to distribute power and decision-making throughout society.

Prof Beth Perry says:

“We’re really excited to have an opportunity to share our learning and expertise with such a diverse network of actors. More importantly, we’re interested in learning from the wealth of knowledge within this network, and to explore how these democratic innovations can be implemented in different urban contexts.”

Dr Bert Russell says:

“With Barcelona holding this year’s annual presidency, this is a great time to join the IOPD. Barcelona are leading the way in progressive urban transformation, and we’re looking forward to taking a number of academic and non-academic researchers to the annual conference in November this year.”