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Democracy Innovation in Digital Transformation

17–19 September 2024


The rise of digital technologies brings opportunities and threats to local democracies, making safeguarding and exercising citizens’ digital rights a key challenge of our time. The right to privacy, freedom of expression, access to information and open digital infrastructures are fundamental in the digital age. The first edition of Democracy Lab, organised within the Nets4Dem project, will focus on enhancing democratic processes in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Hosted by Barcelona, the European Capital of Democracy 2023-2024, the Lab will leverage the city’s extensive experience and innovative practices in this area, providing a rich context for addressing multifaceted urban challenges. Discussions, speakers’ presentations and group work will revolve around four main focus areas:

  • Civic tech: linking online and in-person participation
  • Open data, open technologies and smart city
  • Artificial Intelligence in government and multi-stakeholder collaboration
  • Democratic culture in digital era

Democracy Lab format

Democracy Lab serves as a platform for local government officials and democracy practitioners to promote collaborative problem-solving and democratic innovation at the local level. The event takes place in Barcelona from 17 to 19 September 20204, bringing together diverse stakeholders to delve into democratic innovations by jointly working on the real-life challenges presented by participating cities – the challenge owners. Over 2,5 days participants will work in small teams of peers, assisted by a facilitator,  to design actionable, ready-to-implement democratic interventions to bring them back to their administrations. In this creative effort, the teams will be assisted by mentors: democracy experts and practitioners from the Nets4Dem network, Barcelona staff and experts, and local stakeholders. To ensure learning exchange and breadth of perspectives, participants will take part in study visits and speak with local community members.

The working language of Democracy Lab is English. Participation in the event is open to cities, towns and organisations in the EU and Horizon Europe countries, and free of charge. We provide lunches and coffee breaks but do not cover travel or accommodation costs.

Call for challenges

If your city is facing challenges related to democracy in the digital transformation, consider joining our Lab as a challenge owner. This is a unique opportunity to collaborate with peers and experts, all guided by a professional facilitator, to address your specific concerns. Review the benefits and requirements for challenge cities in our guidelines and submit your application  by July 22, 2024 (NEW DATE). Travel and accommodation expenses for one representative from each challenge city will be reimbursed.

Democracy Lab BCN_Call for city challenges.pdf


Start: 17 September 2024
End: 19 September 2024
Eurocities & Barcelona Capital of Democracy Office

Barcelona, Spain

Canòdrom- Digital and democratic innovation centre. C/Concepción Arenal, 165
Barcelona CT

Related files

  • Democracy Lab BCN_Call for city challenges.pdf
  • Democracy Lab Barcelona_EXTERNAL agenda_Jun24.pdf
  • Democracy Lab Barcelona format.pdf

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