Open Access

Citizen Participation and Engagement in Urban Governance: Perception of Finnish and Polish Local Officials1


Participation has recently received renewed attention in the context of governance. This is especially relevant in countries where democratization and decentralization have led to an increased promotion of citizen involvement into the decision-making process. This article suggests that the current debate on civic engagement would benefit from further reflection on how the concept of participation is implemented in contexts, particularly in the Nordic as well as Central and Eastern European countries, where ideas of local democracy, urban governance and involvement can be understood differently. By exploring citizen participation from the perspective of local officials in two European cities – Lublin, Poland and Tampere, Finland, the article seeks to add significant data to the on-going scholarly discussion. Based on qualitative research, it examines advantages and disadvantages of the provisions of the local citizen-participation frameworks, as perceived by the officials of the selected case cities. In the conclusion, the authors point out that although both cities have different democratic institutional systems as well as commonly accepted notions of citizen participation, their city halls frequently face similar problems related to the use of participatory tools.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration