Villkor för lokala demokratiprocesser: En intervjuundersökning i Göteborg
This report represents one part of a research project called Local Democracy Processes and Sustainable Development, which was initiated in January 1999 at the School of Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. It aims at analysing how local democracy processes, as they are described in the Agenda 21 document, are related to sustainable development in its broader perspective. The project is delimited to studying such processes in housing areas of the 50s, the 60s and the 70s. Project leader is professor Anne Marie Wilhelmsen and the research work is carried out by Jenny Stenberg, architect and PhD student. The report contains the results of a field investigation conducted in 1999, in which twenty-seven local actors in Göteborg were interviewed about their experiences of local democracy processes. Most of the interviewees were employed in housing companies and city district committees. They have had either extensive experiences of local democracy processes or a stated will to develop an explicit bottom-up perspective in their districts. The aim of the study was to gather the knowledge and experiences of the local actors concerning such proces- ses, and further to illustrate the possibilities of incorporating them into mainstream decision-making. Yet another aim was to analyse these experiences in relation to the broad definition of sustainable development. The most apparent result of the investigation is the complex picture of local democracy processes given by the actors. It is thus not possible to find a few important obstacles to be overcome or a specific prerequisite essential for success. There also exist several distinct opinions about what is causing the difficulties related to incorporating these processes into existing structures. In the final chapter some important aspects concerning local democracy processes are discussed, such as economy and financing, co-operation and power, visible results, and the different views on the two concepts of project and process. Further, the definition of sustainable development and the possible meaning of the notion in the local context is discussed. This leads to yet another discussion about decision-making and the actual lack of knowledge concerning the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the local context. Finally the report is concluded by discussing the relevance of three interrelated hypotheses. Firstly, it may be argued that the introduction of four-dimensional decision-domains within the local context could facilitate the development of local learning processes. Secondly, these learning processes may be seen as essential for the development of common value-grounds. Thirdly, such common value-grounds may be seen as necessary in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the goal of sustainable development.
local democracy process