This lab is aimed at the study, development and practical application of participation processes that can foster direct, deliberative and distributed democracy. To this end, we analyse participation processes that combine physical and digital spaces, focusing our work on the impact of these processes and the degree to which citizens are taking ownership of these tools.

The internet offers infinite possibilities for peer interaction that have yet to be explored. Developing these possibilities will pave the way to a society that’s increasingly involved in political action via new processes based on inclusiveness and representativeness.

In recent years, various Spanish cities have been developing a participatory ecosystem that enables rapid advances in launching new tools that promote direct participation and support deliberation and decision-making processes.

Madrid boasts the platform, launched by the Madrid City Council's Department of Citizen Participation, Transparency and Open Government. The platform hosts participation processes, participatory budgets, consultations and citizen proposals, enabling citizens to bring their ideas before institutional authorities by gathering support. It’s a considerable challenge; proposals must achieve at least 27,000 pledges of support or signatures. One of the needs identified in terms of enabling pledges of support to be obtained is the need to build communities around the tool, and to integrate face-to-face (in-person) processes that help achieve this end.

ParticipaLab aims to contribute to fostering and strengthening a true participation culture in Madrid, making information on available channels and tools more intelligible. It also aims to assist in revealing the problems facing Madrid and communicating them to the City Council. To this end, various lines of work have been launched which interact with each other in order to obtain comprehensive results that reach a wide audience.