Citizens’ Assembly on Lynetteholm

Cities around the world are facing a series of dilemma-filled questions about how to live, transport and cope with the climate change that is looming on the horizon. We Do Democracy runs a Citizens' Assembly based on OECD principles to ensure impartial scrutiny of the project and to create a framework for the difficult and contentious conversation about the project. It's a process that is attracting national and international attention, with follow-up research by the University of Copenhagen and Dublin City University


A majority in the Danish Parliament and the City Council of Copenhagen have decided to build an artificial peninsula in Copenhagen Harbour. Lynetteholm has been both recognised for thinking big and strongly opposed for a weak democratic dialogue with the city. The Citizens’ Assembly on Lynetteholm cannot reverse the decision on the construction project, but it can scrutinise the project and involve a representative group of citizens across the metropolitan area, so that we as a city can learn more about how to improve citizen involvement in urban development and climate adaptation in the future. Because we believe that big collective changes call for broad collective conversations and that future decisions need both collective intelligence and collective action.


The debate about Lynetteholm is polarised and dilemma-filled. Both the project and the process are criticised. At the same time, an increasingly large group of citizens are holding back from participating in the city’s conversation about Lynetteholm when the debate becomes apparently irreconcilable. A Citizens’ Assembly fulfils a democratic need for all parties to engage in a balanced conversation about Lynetteholm in a confidential space where there is room to examine the facts, listen to different perspectives and assessments, and make forward-looking recommendations. In collaboration with leading international Citizens’ Assembly experts, we advised on a design that divides the Citizens’ Assembly into two phases: In the first phase, citizens will talk about the pros and cons and the process of Lynetteholm, and in the second phase, members will come up with recommendations on the core task: “How can Lynetteholm become a neighbourhood that supports sustainable development for people, nature and the environment in the capital region in the future?”


Members of the Citizens’ Assembly will meet over a total of 10 full days, evenings and weekends from November 2022 to June 2023. Together they will scrutinise the project, identifying values, rules and principles for democratic urban development. The Citizens’ Assembly has appointed an Expert Group that will continuously contribute to the members’ learning process with the help of experts and stakeholders. In addition, an Advisory Board will advise on balance and fairness in the Citizens’ Assembly’s selection process. Using the OECD’s deliberative principles, citizens are presented with knowledge about Lynetteholm and engage in dialogue with each other. Together, the members will issue partial recommendations halfway through the process and submit their final recommendations to By & Havn, which will forward them to the Copenhagen City Council for use in the further political process.


  • 10,000 citizens across 12 metropolitan municipalities aged 16 to 99+ were invited to participate in the Citizens’ Assembly by Statistics Denmark. 536 citizens opted to participate in the process.
  • 66 citizens were recruited based on the selection criteria: age, gender, education level and municipality of residence in Greater Copenhagen. Thus, the Citizens’ Assembly was essentially a miniature version of Copenhagen’s demographics.
  • The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly are published publicly and handed over unedited to the City Council of Copenhagen.

Read more about the Citizen Assembly on the project’s participation platform

And read the final recommendations here.

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Johan Galster

Johan Galster

Partner and democracy advisor