We present exemplary political work from all over Europe to you – submitted to the Innovation in Politics Awards and from other sources.
COOKING AND CHATTING IN BIELEFELD
(FINALIST 2018) Sharing a meal: a quarterly event where citizens can come together to cook and eat a common meal.
Chatting, exploring, getting to know each other: cooking together is a great way to connect people. In Bielefeld’s Ostmannturmviertel, citizens, local politicians and civil servants come together quarterly to prepare meals and eat together. Sixteen participants work on four cooking stations, where four participants are representatives from different political parties.
The outstanding democratic aspect of this approach is the open end. People are invited to talk with the aim of creating a cluster from which the local administrations can form follow-up projects. Dishes of Turkish, Indian, Polish and German origin are cooked and a casual way of conversation quickly emerges. This fosters addressing neighbourhood issues, such as the socially problematic situation around drug use at the railway station, or the need for new bicycle parking, and therefore provides incentives for cooperation on new projects. Even the structure of the event is open for improvement, such as to prolong conversational windows while cooking and to instigate a visualisation of the outcome.