Potenziale von Bürgerstiftungen im Kontext nachhaltiger Stadtentwicklung

  • Opportunities of citizens foundations according to sustainable urban development

Valentin, Anke; Selle, Klaus (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2011)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2011


The point of departure of this doctoral thesis was the observation that in Germany citizens’ foundations are increasingly being set up feeling committed to the idea of sustainability. That is why this study analyses the interface of two processes: that of sustainable urban development and that of the citizens’ foundation movement. Obvious commonalities can already be identified at first glance. Both are of nation-wide relevance, are locally anchored and oriented, in the long term, towards improving the quality of life in the cities or municipalities. Unlike many other local initiatives, both processes cover a broad range in terms of contents and include citizens’ concerns and participation as basic elements. Other commonalities as well as differences are rather hidden and were identified through investigations, case studies and expert interviews in order to answer the question of which limits and possibilities citizens’ foundations have when they deal with sustainable urban development. Against this background, this doctoral thesis treats three research questions based on each other: • First research question: Which requirements resulting from the objectives of sustainable urban development do citizens’ foundations have to face? • Second research question: A. In which way do citizens’ foundations implement the requirements of sustainable urban development? B. Which reasons do the foundation actors mention for their acting? • Third research question: Which limits and own choices exist for citizens’ foundations in co-designing sustainable urban development? Through transferring the goals of the sustainability programmes to the citizens’ foundations, it could be determined when a citizens’ foundation acts according to the requirements of sustainable urban development. These goals were divided into four areas and their implementation checked at three afore-selected citizens’ foundations. Completed by experiences of four experts and one female expert, statements and recommendations arise which are presented subsequently in extracts: Contentual output - to be defined as ecological, economic and social orientation of the projects and measures. • The citizens’ foundation can cover the whole range of contents aspired by the sustainability programmes and should do so - or through operational projects or by including via promotions other non-profit organisations for specific topics. • Despite the local relevance, a consideration of development co-operation is possible as show foundation projects on fair trade. Networking / co-operative instruments - to be defined as horizontal and vertical co-operation within local actors. • Experience shows that foundations - not only citizens’ foundations - are increasingly assuming the function of moderators in the context of urban development. • As to the necessary profiling, it is recommended to promote to a lesser degree the contentual profiling, but rather to orient the work towards accomplishing an essential position in the local networks in order to link them to each other in the spirit of sustainability. Citizens’ involvement as a participative instrument - to be defined as internal foundation structures as well as motivational effects for more citizens’ involvement. • In the set-up phase, founders are recommended to look for partners in their near environment, in the first place. • Beyond gaining founders, the foundation should use the opportunity to involve project-related occasional supporters in order to address different populations. • As the foundation work is based on the involvement of volunteers, there should be permanent contact persons attending the honorarily active. Key instruments: Planning and financial instruments - to be defined as characteristic instruments of the foundation and of sustainable urban development. • An essential instrument of the citizens’ foundation is the investment. It should be ensured that it is in line with the foundation’s statement of purpose in order to achieve a double dividend. • To be able to act in a wide range and so respond to sustainable urban development, the citizens’ foundation should act both on a promoting and an operational basis: Thus, priorities can be focused on in operative projects, on the one hand, while local actors can be promoted in a targeted way, on the other hand, in order to cover the necessary diversity. • Through focused co-operation with the administration, the citizens’ foundation has the opportunity to ensure its influence on sustainable urban development even in such areas over which social groups do not have any control. The results show which role the citizens’ foundation plays in the context of sustainable urban development and what it should focus on in pursuing this way.