The Botkyrka dialogue gives local residents a voice

The Botkyrka Dialogue, which has been running since 2019, gives the residents of Botkyrka the opportunity to submit suggestions to politicians about things they would like to improve in their district and everyday life.

A total of 5 million SEK is available for activities and actions during Since spring 2020, Digidem Lab has supported the dialogue process through the digital Decidim platform used to collect proposals.

Dialogues have been held in different locations in the municipality. The goal is to make Botkyrka better together by capturing the views of residents and thus strengthening local democracy, so that those living in the area can participate in influencing political decisions on how the district should be developed. When the pandemic struck in early 2020, the municipality had to rethink how to continue having dialogues with citizens without the risk of spreading contagion. Part of the solution was the Decidim digital dialogue platform. Digidem Lab helped with the adaptation and training of the platform.

We are very happy that we were able to support the Botkyrkadialogen and that they managed to reach so many of their citizens thanks to the Decidim platform! says Pierre from Digidem Lab.

Ideas have been trickling in from the different neighbourhoods as the dialogue meetings have been held. Over 1000 Botkyrka residents have given their opinions and almost 600 suggestions have been received since the start. The Botkyrka Dialogue in Tumba in 2020 was the first of the municipality’s citizen dialogues since the outbreak of the pandemic. Some of the proposals that have become reality in the area include a new outdoor gym, the installation of birdhouses for the vulnerable species of swift at Tunas School and three popular park theatre performances. The dialogue tour then continued to Fittja, Grödinge, Hallunda-Norsborg, Storvreten and Alby with six weeks of collecting suggestions in each district. Suggestions received ranged from residents wanting a clean, tidy, safe and secure local environment, fun events and experiences, meeting places and support for young people, activities for the elderly, a theme day on mental health in schools or a more fun schoolyard. Proposals that will be implemented in some of the boroughs include the extension of the outdoor gym and playground, activities for children and young people, clean-up and litter-picking campaigns, plant walks and the decoration of pillars in the area. The Decidim digital platform has been a good tool for making the dialogue accessible, says Ana Ekelund, project manager for the Botkyrkadialogen.

– It’s great to hear people’s ideas and suggestions. You get to know a lot about the places, events and history of the different parts of the municipality. Decidim is a good tool because it allows people to make suggestions between the physical meetings, but also because it is so open and transparent. It makes the dialogue more accessible as everyone can see each other’s suggestions that have been submitted and what responses and comments they have received. It has helped us to be open in our communication with citizens, she says.

The proposals are then handled by the political committee Dialogue Commission, which selects the proposals to be investigated in the next stage by the municipality’s staff. Based on the investigation, proposals are then submitted to the Dialogue Commission, which decides which proposals to implement. You can read all the proposals received on the digital platform