Urban Alternatives is launched by a collaboration of different actors which are united in their efforts to create a more democratic, just and sustainable world. This map seeks to highlight initiatives that work towards this goal. Proposal for initiatives not listed yet can be made directly on the website. This process is open to new collaborations.


Miasto Jest Nasze

Citizen Participation Mechanism

What challenges did this initiative look to address?

Miasto Jest Nasze was established in October 2013 in opposition to former mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, accusing her policies of being inept, nepotistic and chaotic. Miasto Jest Nasze is made up of more than one hundred and forty members - Warsaw residents, social workers, unrelated to any political party, but fully involved in the affairs of their city. They monitor and control planning activities and intervene repeatedly in matters the feel are important for Warsaw residents, especially in matters relating to Warsaw's cultural heritage protection.

What has changed?

Through their campaigns and work, Miasto Jest Nasze emphasized the need for citizen driven, sustainable and inclusive urban development. They engaged in spatial planning, sustainable infrastructure, the preservation of green spaces, heritage conservation and fight against the further privatization of Warsaw. They have strengthened public awareness for a responsible governing of their city and created mechanisms through which people could become engaged in shaping their city. Instead of only pointing fingers at matters that didn’t work, they provided sensible alternatives and, in 2014, successfully took part in local government elections. Civic awareness is steadily growing by implementing tools for participatory drafting of planning documents, and Miasto Jest Nasze’s work has allowed Warsaw’s residents to engage in urban planning processes.

How did it happen?

Miasto Jest Nasze was founded as an urban movement in October 2013. The beginning of the movement was a campaign encouraging the residents of Warsaw to participate in a referendum on the dismissal of President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Social media was used to mobilize people and the demands were backed by an open letter signed by over 20 people from the world of art, culture and science. They referendum was seen as an opportunity for Warsaw citizens to play an active role in local urban development. Although the Mayor stayed in power since the turnout was too low, the referendum gave rise to an increased awareness on failed urban development in Warsaw. Miasto Jest Nasze was turned into an association in 2014 with over 140 members: Warsaw residents, social and urban activists. The Association deals with problems such as urban transport, environmental protection (especially the problem of smog), spatial order, property reprivatisation, social participation, sustainable development, gentrification. It also conducts monitoring and publicizing activities of politicians and municipal offices. It focuses on the irregularities in managing Warsaw, presenting proposals for improving the functioning of the city, participation as a social representative in consultations at the local government level.

Together with associated partners, Miasto Jest Nasze acts as a strong voice that counteracts unfavourable tendencies in the development of Warsaw, such as the uncontrolled sprawl of the city to the suburbs, the increase in air pollution or the degradation and disappearance of public spaces. Miasto Jest Nasze does this by acting as a watchdog organization, using public data and available information that they disseminate to inform people about their rights as citizens. They also promote citizen participation and the revival of self-governance by proposing policies such as: binding social consultations; regular surveys of cities and residents' needs; co-deciding on the city's issues in direct referendums; binding participation of social councils and advisory commissions and social organizations in making decisions as well as the promotion of civic budgets.