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DoNaPart – Psychological and Communal Empowerment through Participation in Sustainable Urban Reconstruction



Client:Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding measure „Sustainable transformation of urban spaces”; Project management agency is the DLR (German Aerospace Center)
Partner(s):Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Department of Applied Social Sciences (Coordination); Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy; Project „Nordwärts“, City of Dortmund, Local Partner: Neighborhood management Westerfilde/Bodelschwingh
Time frame:11/2016 – 12/2019

The socioeconomic transformation processes of the energy transition and sustainable urban development are a first frequently considered as technological or infrastructural projects. However, such transformation processes can only be sustainable if they are co-developed by the city's inhabitants and meet the necessary acceptance and support of the population. Against this background, the DoNaPart project initiates participatory processes in three fields of sustainable urban planning and evaluates their effects. The aim is to investigate the extent to which citizens’ empowerment can be promoted so that they are permanently enabled to contribute to shaping the urban environment according to their own needs and values. DoNaPart is linked to the project "Nordwärts", which - based on participatory and dialogue procedures - tries to structurally adapt the less developed northern districts of Dortmund to the rest of the city.

The Social City project region of Westerfilde/Bodelschwingh in the northwest of Dortmund serves as an urban real-world lab. An open meeting place is to be set up here to work together with citizens and other civic groups to develop and implement measures along the three central fields of "climate-friendly energy use", "multimodal mobility" and "collaborative consumption". Possible measures are the initiation of an urban communal garden, purchasing-associations, a free rental service of carrier bicycles, mobility consultation for senior citizens or the setting up of an energy cooperative. The conception of strategies and consulting offerings as well as the concrete measures are carried out in close cooperation with the residents and other actors from authorities, local associations and companies and in coordination with the employees of the local district management.

The participatory measures are accompanied by an extensive evaluation, with the help of which the effects of the project will be empirically verified. Representative surveys before and during the activities deal with the psychological, social and spatial aspects of empowerment and also capture the quality of life in the district as well as the environmental behavior in the three fields of action.

The aim of the project is to initiate and consolidate a self-sustaining process together with the people of Westerfilde/Bodelschwingh, which improves the citizens' self-competency in shaping their living environment. Subsequently the gained and empirically proven findings are being translated into recommendations for action, which can also be transferred to further processes and structures within the framework of the Nordwärts projects, as well as to other cities and municipalities undergoing structural change.


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