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Public Participation as a part of Knowledge-based Decision-making: Case of Current Transport Policy in Moscow

Civil Society
Conflict Resolution
Local Government
Public Policy
Social Capital
Decision Making
Artem Uldanov
National Research University, Higher School of Economics – HSE
Artem Uldanov
National Research University, Higher School of Economics – HSE
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Abstract

Despite the fact that Russian politics suffers from the lack of democracy and this issue significantly affects quality of decisions, in some cases it is possible to track positive tendencies in interactions between authorities and citizens. One of the brightest examples of such processes is current urban policy in Russian capital - Moscow. After recent elections, Moscow mayor trying to improve quality of urban environment in the city, but doing it in pretty standard for Russian authorities way - without serious public involvement and expert knowledge, which could be provided not only by organizations and experts close to the government. But through efforts of several urban movements and NGOs working on local urban projects, situation began to change and now, some aspects of Moscow urban policy shifted to much more participatory basis, when citizens and experts are able to discuss with government not only their own vision on possible policies, but also best practices in urban policy around the world, propose their own solutions for existing problems and publicly prove applicability of these solution in conditions of Moscow - city with huge amount of traffic and urban-planning issues. In this Paper I want to focus attention on preconditions of these positive changes and analyze in details how urban movements and NGOs achieved such level of progress in establishing adequate interaction with authorities. One of the important findings in this case – is that almost all organizations and individuals involved in current urban policies agenda were born from or connected with mass protests in Moscow, which started in 2011 after Parliament elections. It look likes protest activity found new, more constructive forms and in combination with election of new city mayor led to creation of basic mechanisms for public participation in urban decision-making on district and even city levels. Moreover, in case of resource collection and attraction of public attention to existing issues, new urban movements using social networks and ties established during and after the protests. It is worth to mention, that we can track this transformation mostly in sphere of urban movements, so it is possible to assume, that in conditions of environment with quite a few working participatory mechanisms, citizens combine their efforts to use social capital resources accumulated during the protests in sphere where they able to make a difference and can bring alternative policy agenda to wide auditory