Engaging the citizens of Halsnæs Municipality

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Halsnæs chose to join forces with Stagis in July on the project of developing a new vision for the municipality. The aim is to strengthen their position and create a political vision that can work as a platform for developing the place and making the area more attractive to new inhabitants and companies.

During the fall we have conducted a mapping of Halsnæs’ authentic strengths, and engaged both citizens, activists, politicians and local company owners in the development of the “future Halsnæs”. Besides anthropological methods, such as personal visits, observational journeys and in-depth interviews, we have succeeded in engaging 58% of the 31.000 citizens in Halsnæs on the new Facebook page “Fremtidens Halsnæs”. Through the high level of engagement in both types of research, we have developed a complete and in-depth understanding of the region and found six authentic strengths that characterizes the place:

  • Roughness
  • Working culture
  • Quality craftsmanship
  • Fine and popular culture
  • Supporting neighborhood
  • Local incentive

 

As we analyzed the possibilities for the area during the fall, the six strengths were combined in different ways to form four possible future scenarios for Halsnæs. The scenarios define what future directions for Halsnæs could look like and focus on lifting the entire area rather than just a few cities.

  • Proud craftsmanship
  • Culture in community
  • Local entrepreneurship
  • Authentic experiences

 

To increase the contribution and secure a high level of engagement from local stakeholders, we hosted a forum of visions in Gjethuset in Halsnæs. 250 citizens, politicians, local business owners, and leaders of important institutions were gathered to put their mark on the future vision of Halsnæs.

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During the evening the participants eagerly discussed each of the four scenarios, and the related  consequences if one of the scenarios were to become the new vision of Halsnæs.

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Representatives from local businesses and activists participated in a panel debate where the participants asked questions and discussed the specific scenarios and situations. The discussions developed a common understanding of the process and an increased level of engagement where the attendees came up with great ideas and activities in each scenario.

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Based on the discussions the participants had to decide which scenario they preferred for the future in Halsnæs. To engage all the attendees, we developed a physical exercise where they had to walk to the scenario they felt the strongest about. At the end of the day, the participants and the Mayor of Halsnæs, Steen Hasselriis, brought home many new exciting ideas and an expanded perspective on the possible future of Halsnæs.

Based on the valuable contributions from the participants, we are now in the middle of elaborating on the scenarios with the most support and potential for development. In the beginning of 2016, we will help the leaders and politicians make the final decision on the future direction for Halsnæs. We look very much forward to enter the next phase of the process and are excited to learn which of the scenarios that will set the foundation for the future vision for Halsnæs.

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