Community empowerment strategies in Augustenborg


30.09.2018

Empowerment of the local community has resulted in Augustenborg, enabling residents to play a significant role in the planning and implementation of the initiative. The Augustenborg project incorporated extensive public consultation. This included regular meetings, community workshops, and informal gatherings at sports and cultural events. The approach became increasingly open and consultative. While some claim that involvement of local residents was low for a variety of reasons ranging from apathy to language barriers, approximately one-fifth of the tenants in the area have participated in dialogue meetings about the project, and some have become very active in the development of the area. Residents and people working in Augustenborg were involved in the design of the outdoor environment. A special needs advisor and local access and mobility group worked with the design team throughout the project. Constant communication and in-depth community involvement enabled the project to accommodate residents' concerns and preferences regarding the design of the storm water system. Consequently, the project encountered little opposition. Augustenborg school pupils were involved in a number of local developments, for example with the planning of a new community/school garden, rainwater collection pond/ice rink, a musical playground, and sustainable building projects incorporating green roofs and solar energy panels. The greatest challenge in involving the public was maintaining continuity, which involved keeping a steady focus on the environmental awareness of the residents and informing the newcomers to the area about what had been done. It has also been observed that in order for people to become involved, they need to have more control over the project outcomes, and the authorities, therefore, have to accept that things do not always happen exactly as they were planned. Involvement of the residents in the design phase meant that there was little opposition to the project, and resulted in the sense of ownership, empowerment, and raised awareness among the residents.

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