Deliberative Walks: citizen participation in local-level planning processes

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Recently, a focus on democratic innovations emphasising an increasing and deepening citizen participation in political decision-making has been evident. Deliberative Walks offer a participatory–deliberative process in which the participants, by deliberating in small groups and joining facilitated walks, tackle a complex policy issue that has highly intertwined social and physical dimensions. Deliberative Walks builds on the principle that two participatory methods, citizens’ juries and development walks, are combined. Deliberative Walks are influenced by place-based learning. And like in outdoor pedagogy, learning by moving between the abstract and concrete, as well as transforming experience into knowledge through reflection and communication, is encouraged. We analyse an implemented education-oriented version, Studentlab Deliberative Walks, with nineteen university students. The results, based on questionnaires, interviews and essays, indicate that it is fruitful to experience an issue with all senses. The development walk was seen as more important than the citizens’ jury. Participating in Deliberative Walks promoted inclusion in the decision-making process, enhanced learning, boosted self-confidence and developed feelings of empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19(3)
Pages (from-to)478-501
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Deliberative Walks
  • social sustainability
  • Deliberative democracy
  • mixed-methods
  • Place-based learning


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