G1000: a new platform for democratic innovation, coming to Cambridge
G1000 is an independent citizens’ project aimed at revitalizing democracy. The call - If the politicians can’t find a solution, let the citizens! - is carried out by bringing a randomly-selected group of residents together for a one-day event to prioritise policy areas and develop concrete proposals to address them. The initiative began Belgium where it has been going strong since 2011. The first Dutch G100 was held in 2014 and in March of this year the first Spanish event took place in Madrid. A few words from an article on openDemocracy about the event:
On March 4, 2017, more than a thousand Madrid residents were called to the Madrid G1000 in the Cibeles Palace of the Ayuntamiento de Madrid. These citizens were randomly selected through a contact process in supermarkets, sport centres and health centres in Madrid's 21 districts. The contact included a survey to ensure that the sample of citizens was demographically representative of the city. Before the meeting, David Van Reybrouck, one of the G1000's founders, sent a message of support to the Madrid G1000: "In a time of communication and information, people have something to say. The G1000 offers common citizens the opportunity to talk about their anger and their dreams. After a dozen G1000 meetings in Belgium and the Netherlands, Spain will hold its first G1000 Citizens' Summit in Madrid. I hope it brings people together. You don't have to agree to have a good talk".
During the meeting the citizens were split into groups of up to ten people, in which they tried to reflect and debate about the city. By the end of the morning they had jointly formulated dozens of proposals for this year's participatory budgets to which 100 million euros has been allocated. Common people who had never participated were able, then, to bring the proposals to decide.madrid.es, the City's new direct democracy free software tool, sharing their proposals with the whole city and winning great approval.
G1000 has found its way to the UK - A group of volunteers in Cambridge are in the mist of planning the first event happening on Saturday 21st April 2018, hoping it will become a launchpad for a series of UK G1000s. A launch event will take place on Thursday 5th October 2017 at 5.30pm at Baroosh. For more information see their webpage.