Citizens have embraced this power of decision making, but they have also taken on the responsibility to monitor the realisation of the selected proposals in the Civil Initiatives and Green Wave programmes.
A total of 144 proposals from individuals and groups of citizens were submitted in the “Participate” campaigns within the framework of the Civil Initiatives and the Green Wave projects. The task of selecting Rijeka’s best and most needed ideas was in the hands of those citizens who, when applying for membership in the council that was to evaluate and select the proposals for implementation, decided to take this responsibility upon themselves. By way of working in the Citizens’ Council, the citizens of Rijeka have embraced the power of decision-making, along with the responsibility for monitoring the realisation of the selected proposals that it entails.
Six basic criteria were used in the quality assessment of the ideas submitted. The Council members considered the submitted proposals in terms of how locally important, cooperatively designed, innovative for Rijeka, sustainable upon realisation, and how feasible and widely available they are. As a result, a total of 34 proposals were selected and suggested for funding as part of the European Capital of Culture project. The role of the Council member does not, however, end there, as they are also to monitor the progress and realisation of the ideas selected.
A readiness to take this responsibility upon themselves was demonstrated by 155 citizens of Rijeka who originally applied for Council membership. 30 of them were chosen in such a way as to constitute a representative sample of Rijeka’s population while also taking age and gender into account. A random draw of application forms, sorted into 10 categories according to age and gender, was implemented to ensure that all the citizens who applied for membership would get equal chances of entering the Council and attaining the position of civic power and civic responsibility.
Their views of the roles they have and the responsibility they represent are the best possible litmus test of their positive attitudes, creating an energy that fuels the ECoC project, as well as the development of future programmes wherein the citizens call all the shots.