Citizen-driven innovation and local village action plans for rural areas

This research project involves one local area in the two municipalities of Slagelse and Vejle where they are working with the development of village action plans.

The scarcity of resources and the longer distance to the Danish municipal politicians after the local government reform in 2007 make local areas’ ability to act focused and strategically still more important. In some municipalities, the authorities have encouraged – and partly funded – the preparation of village action plans in order to make local areas take hold of their future. In other municipalities, the local areas themselves have seen the need for this and started the work.

In the first case in the study, the Hashøj North West/Slagelse case, the initiative has appeared from the local level but has been anchored in the political system by use of a so called § 17.4 council, that municipal authorities can establish when they want to test new solutions. Together, the local area and the municipality of Slagelse have decided to use the preparation of a village action plan for Hashøj North West as a testing ground for citizen driven innovation. Both the local area and the municipality are thus keen on finding new ways to cooperating and new service solutions and both parties are positive towards the cooperation.

In the second case, the Højen/Vejle case, the development of the village action plan for Højen is following the municipalities’ framework for preparation of village plans. The municipality of Vejle has used a method called ABCD as the basis for their way of working with village plans.

The aim of the research project is to map the cooperation between the local areas and the municipal authorities and develop a model for village action plans according to the following research questions:

What are the differences and similarities, opportunities and challenges in the two municipalities’ ways to work with village action plans and how can a model for village action plans look like?

  • How can citizens be actively involved in local development and planning work?
  • How can all relevant public management areas be integrated into a dynamic development process in relation to the development of a village action plan?
  • How can a village action plan be reached, which is backed up locally and can act as a strategic platform for specific activities?

LAG Slagelse has funded the research project together with the Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs. The project runs for about one year from August 2014 until May 2015. The project is carried out in cooperation with the consultancy LandLabDK.

 If you have information about literature, reports etc. describing village action planning processes, development of parish plans or local development plans at the sub municipal level in other countries than Denmark or if you have any questions, please contact Annette Aagaard Thuesen.