2015 – European Charter on Participatory Democracy

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The European Charter on Participatory Democracy in Spatial Planning Processes

The Charter of participatory Democracy was approved at the ECTP-CEU General Assembly, Dublin, October 17th 2015.
This primary vocation of this text is to invite all the actors of the planning processes – including politicians and citizens – to share the values stated in this call for action.

Keeping in mind that:

  • All political decisions have direct or indirect impact on spatial planning
  • Every planning action is basically a cultural action.
  • Every Planning action has an impact on quality of life.
  • Spatial planning is relevant to insure access to essential services and exercise of rights.

Participatory democracy has to be used in spatial planning processes as a core value for an advanced and healthy Democracy. The involvement of individuals and communities in the definition of their living spaces is critical.

Participatory Democracy has to be seen as complementary to the representative Democracy and not opposed to it to insure that each individual is concerned especially if he doesn’t feel represented.

Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the American Constitution, stating that the gap between a representative Democracy and tyranny is always tiny, said: “A Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

More than ever, in a changing world and even in the heart of Europe, we have to be aware of the lack of local Democracy which can create strong sentiments of frustration. It is crucial for the future of our European societies based on freedom, human rights and respect for cultural diversity, to make sure that planning processes are fair and respectful of the diversity of opinions and needs.

ECTP-CEU Honorary President
Chair of the WG on Participatory Democracy

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