Participation in research processes is the alliance between scientific and non scientific knowledge. That means participation is an involvement of an interested or concerned public on site, which we see crucial for a sustainability process, because sustainable development can not be ordered, it must be negotiated.
We from Oikodrom conceive participation as an empowerment process. Encouraging people especially within a sustainability process seeks for finding latent wishes and potentials of the participants and initiates and accompanies an empowerment process in which the participants themselves are the leading persons, because it is them who carry out their future perspectives. The research team gives support to enable the discovery of these potentials and helps for formulating the ideas and wishes. At that stage those are often half-baked and not yet ready for a public discourse. The research team tries to create an atmosphere where it is possible to articulate new and sometimes unusual thoughts and ideas. In addition the initiated process should contribute to a sensitisation for the topic sustainability und carry out questions for an integrative approach to the future images.
For the success of a participatory process it is also necessary to integrate the activating element of a face-to-face survey, meaning also data survey as important parts of a participatory process.
According to our definition, saying that sustainability is a local process with specific forms of appearances, each participation process has its own character. The public space as daily social environment, as place of encounter and discussion acts as the stage for participation.
Therefore activities in the public space are preferred within such projects. Oikodrom has carried out innovative methods in manifold participatory projects and events in Austria and abroad and further developed for different research settings. Also see transdisciplinarity.