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In recent years, we can see an increased interest in community engagement projects. The ladder of participation is used to illustrate the levels of power and control over decision-making that are given to the community in these projects.

What is the ladder of participation?

The ladder of participation is a model used to measure community engagement and citizen participation. The higher a given project lands on the ladder, the more commitment it will require on the organizer's end. At the same time, higher engagement levels are directly proportional to the degree of trust that communities have for their representatives. The model consists of a total of 5 levels.

Different levels of the ladder of participation

As mentioned above, the ladder of participation consists of a total of 5 levels. From the lowest to the highest rung, they go as follows:

  1. Information: community receives transparent, relevant, and up-to-date information from the local government;
  2. Consultation: community is asked for non-binding feedback on specific decisions and policies;
  3. Involvement: community is taken into account in the decision-making process by the local government;
  4. Co-creation: community and the local government collaborate as equals to co-create solutions, plans, and projects;
  5. Empowerment: community is empowered to make independent decisions.
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