Citizen's juries are deliberative democracy at work; creating a society of the people, for the people and by the people.
The Flourishing Bengaluru collective was formed with the realisation that large, complex 'wicked' problems cannot be solved by individuals or even by institutions, not even by governments with all their resources. Instead, given the scale of the problems, the only meaningful and lasting way to make a difference is by building ecosystems whose collective strength contains the potential to address them. A large number of people and institutions, of different types, must come together, each adding a piece to the jigsaw puzzle that when completed forms the overall solution.
In other words, our 'ecological thought' is a radical new way of looking at systemic challenges, and within that, we propose that a radically decentralised governance model is the way forward for us over the next six months, i.e., targeted interventions timed to insert our theory of change into local governance with the BBMP elections in mind.
Which poses questions such as: what is local community government? How can a community engage with a decentralised governance? In this context, we would like to look at the city at three scales: ward, zone and city, with the ward offering a microcosm of community participation and the community figuring out how to engage with governance at the ward level. Bengaluru has 198 wards with a high degree of variability, so the FBC seeks to create a governance grammar that will adapt itself to those variations. We expect BBMP council elections elections by Apr/May ‘22 and this is our chance to elicit local visions that should influence corporator manifestoes with success metrics that can then be tracked.
In order to do so, we need to convene two kinds of events: convenings of the community that elicits their visions of flourishing, and convenings of the influential that turns those visions into solution pathways. For example, we know that flourishing at the ward level will have to engage with a range of 'verticals' - from solid waste management to justice. Can we bring (say, 25) organisations with expertise in each one of those verticals into a space that elicits the vision of the community and then turn around and collect that community wisdom into pathways for public problem solving?
With that intention in mind, FBC will organise three Citizens Juries (Janta ka Faislas) in three wards and a convening of the influential (Wicked Sprint) between January and April 2022 that creates pressure on the political system to compete across wards in making a Flourishing Bengaluru possible. Along with the events, we will also create a learning platform, i.e., a way to build community capacity to be effective visionaries and problem solvers.