In July 2021, the Leipzig-based Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW published the SPARCS database on citizen engagement. At https://www.citizen-engagement.eu, municipalities and other interested parties can find out about engagement activities that fit their goals and framework conditions. The database is based on a collection of currently about 90 formats that can be filtered by different categories such as target group, number of participants, duration and implementation (live, virtual, hybrid events). A short summary and further links are provided for the selected formats.
The tool is intended for all interested municipalities and supporting partners who aim at a stronger citizen engagement in urban development towards an energy-efficient and CO2-neutral society and are looking for suggestions for the implementation. With the help of the filter function and the short description, a pre-selection of engagement activities can be made, which can be narrowed down with the help of further links to find the appropriate format.
The collection has emerged from an analysis of the citizen engagement activities of the EU's "Smart Cities and Communities" projects, in which concepts for sustainable urban development are developed and implemented, particularly in the energy sector. In this context, the involvement of citizens in planning and implementation plays an important role. As part of an evaluation of the final reports and a supplementary survey of the relevant project partners, experiences from these projects were integrated into the database in order to provide other cities with a decision support tool. In a feedback workshop with representatives of the SPARCS cities, the tool was intensively discussed and subsequently adapted.
The filter categories are briefly explained on a separate page, and for newcomers there is a short explanation of the relevant levels of participation - information, consultation and collaboration. In the interest of European usability, the database is in English and will be continuously expanded as part of the SPARCS project.