Large cities are diverse and heterogeneous, and diversity increases with internationalisation. Therefore, it is crucial that everyone living in a city is able to deal with this diversity calmly, objectively, and without fear, but also with a critical and open mind. This is indispensable for us to feel comfortable and increases the individual quality of life. It is just as important for social cohesion and solidarity. It was in this context that the City of Vienna launched the Vienna Charter project, an initiative that is unique in Europe.
People of all ages, and with different outlooks on life, ethnic backgrounds, professions, and opinions came together to discuss and develop the Vienna Charter. The Viennese themselves chose the topics and participated actively in the development of the Charter. The Vienna Charter is a mutual agreement between all people living in the city.
An open process such as this one, where the people of Vienna would determine the contents of the Charter, requires fundamental principles and clear rules: in a democratic constitutional state there are some things that are not open for discussion. The core document consists of three parts: democracy and the rule of law; human and fundamental rights; women’s and children’s rights.
The city defined its role as that of an initiator and enabler of a process rather than the sole manager – a completely new way of establishing a partnership with civil society, whilst the main responsibility in the problem-solving remains with the people concerned. The Viennese themselves chose a total of 1,848 topics and participated actively in the development of the Charter in discussions, which were published on the project website. The people were able to participate both online and offline. Based on the input provided, the Advisory Committee identified three aspects to be addressed: behaviour, attitude and space.
In total, 651 Charter talks were held with approximately 8500 citizens investing a total of 12,700 hours of discussion for good neighbourly living. More than 47,000 online contributions were submitted. The participants represented a true cross-section of Vienna’s population: children, young people, senior citizens, blue and white collar workers, entrepreneurs, non-working persons as well as people with different mother tongues and countries of origin, people with special needs, with different religious beliefs, worldviews and political opinions, and different sexual orientations.
|Award category:||weathering the storm. creative solutions in a time of crisis - supra-local and local level|
|Sector:||Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||Charter, living together, diversity, respect, social cohesion, participation|
|Short English description:||People of all ages, and with different outlooks on life, ethnic backgrounds, professions, and opinions came together to discuss and develop the Vienna Charter. The Viennese themselves chose the topics and participated actively in the development of the Charter. The Vienna Charter is a mutual agreement between all people living in the city.|
|Organisation:||City of Vienna, Municipal Department 17, Integration and Diversity|
|Level of government:||local level|
|Size of organisation:||50-100|
|Number of people involved:||6-10|
|EU membership:||EU member|