Time for Us!

The idea of sharing more power over the cities with their residents is here to stay. The experiment with Polish urban politics has shown the extent to which it possible and the elasticity of its implementation

Illustration by Rzeczyobrazkowe

the re-organization of traditional divisions between those who rule and those who are ruled gains more importance and becomes a serious argument in political discourse


Article by Ewa Stokłuska

It has been literally centuries since people learnt that power is something very difficult to share once you manage to get it. And while the general rule of politics as a competition – presenting those who win it with a unique chance to put into life their visions for society, state, or city – holds strong, the reality of municipal politics has been changing for some time.

A lot has been said already about the changing paradigms of democratic politics and the ascending role of a more network-oriented democratic model, in which socio-political systems are shaped not only by the conditions of the well-established institutions, but more and more by the quality of certain civic practices and exercising so-called “civic virtues”. As soon as the political system is stable enough and the society en masse affluent enough to spend some time self-reflecting on this topic, the re-organization of traditional divisions between those who rule and those who are ruled gains more importance and becomes a serious argument in political discourse.

Regardless of the rather undisputed legitimization of classic democratic structures such as councils, committees, and representatives of executive power, awareness of their imperfections as well as expectations that these offices should be open to hear from the voices of their constituents has been growing strong and will continue to do so in the future.


Ewa Stokłuska – Sociologist and facilitator, specializing in designing and implementing participatory processes in public decision-making. She runs Research and Participation Department at the Social Innovation Lab in Gdynia (Poland) – a unit in Gdynia City Hall responsible for developing innovative solutions improving local quality of life.

Adopted text from Magazyn Miasta / Cities Magazine vol. 3

Must Reads

From Privatisation to Community Use

We are witnessing an emergence of different strategies to counter corporate ownership, real estate speculation and privatization through community ownership models and cooperative land use schemes. Will civic spaces in Central Europe be a competition for public spaces or an extension of them?

Warsaw Permanent link

High-Rise Revitalised

How will high-rise housing estates transform in Prague, Bratislava and Warsaw – cities where demand on the real estate market still overweighs supply, which means that even houses made of precast concrete enjoy unwavering popularity?

Warsaw Permanent link

Our Hot Future Is Here

Parks and trees can keep cities cool and help manage the effects of climate change; additional challenges specific for Central European cities, however, might be of a technical nature. Simply, our cities are not as rich as cities in Western Europe!

Warsaw Permanent link