Fredrikstad – Litteraturhuset

At the House of Literature (Litteraturhuset Fredrikstad), the delegation heard a series of presentations. The first was dedicated to ways of communicating with citizens through the Committees. The participants were interested in how they motivate citizens to participate in the discussion on future projects of private developers and the city. The work is based on volunteers who are active. They are faced with a high turnover of such active volunteers, and the preparation of some projects takes up to 4 years. The committees have their own information network, a record is created of each meeting, which is subsequently sent both to the members of the given committees and to all other committees as well as to politicians and journalists. Funds of approx. 50-70 thousand are earmarked for the activities of the committees. NOK per year. In 2022, for example, it deals with the topics of school building, volunteering and communication strategy, apartment construction plan, communal services and their capacities, discussions with interest groups, improving feedback to citizens and a user-friendly environment on the Internet.

The next section talked about education and building schools. Through meetings with citizens and youth conferences, they try to optimize schools in the city. The passport of schools and the proposal of 3 variants for their optimization, which aroused people’s interest, proved to be effective. A common problem is misunderstanding in the communication between citizens and officials in terms of competences, rights and mandates. It is also necessary to constantly repeat to the citizens that they cannot co-decide, they can only give suggestions and inspire the city with their ideas.

An interesting topic was Involvement of young people (children and teenagers) and democratic projects. The task of the DEMOS project is primarily to monitor individual projects of the city and private investors and to address their impact on children and youth. The City of Fredrikstad has a so-called Fredrikstad Youth Council, which is a communication tool for young people towards politicians and other decision-makers. The Youth Council also helps the municipality to solve the interests and needs of children and youth.