25. September 2023

Citizens’ Assembly on Lynetteholm Strengthens the Quality of Public Debate

The members of Denmark's most extensive citizen consultation process to date will today hand over the final recommendations for Denmark's largest construction project to the politicians at Copenhagen City Hall. We Do Democracy designed and operated the Citizens' Assembly as an independent third-party secretariat. It has been an extensive, dilemma-filled and eventful journey that sets a new standard for citizen involvement.


Politiken, DR and Altinget publish the story of the citizens’ assembly on the same day as the launch of the recommendations. Because the words of citizens in this particular case are so incredibly important. Primarily, as democracy advisors, we do not take a position on the recommendations – but let the members speak for themselves in their final report. These are their own words, assessments and recommendations for the future of Lynetteholm. As a city, we can learn from the recommendations of a representative group of citizens on a project as complex and conflict-ridden as Lynetteholm – on an informed basis, involving the breadth of the city’s collective intelligence.

The Citizens’ Assembly has succeeded because the members have found the balances in a wide range of dilemmas that were built into the core task. They have always been objective, fair and decent, both to the task at hand and to each other. Across their differences, they have maintained respect for perspectives other than their own. The process has been freed from the conflicts, the loudmouths and the special interests that can fill the space outside the citizen assembly. Not because those voices aren’t relevant, but because we as a society have failed to invite all the others into the conversation in the past.

In total, the 36 members contributed 2500 hours of work over two phases for almost a year. In addition, 30 independent experts have contributed knowledge to the citizens’ work. Together, they have created a high-quality public conversation and have proven that meaningful conversation is possible, given the right time and knowledge base.

A special thanks to By & Havn. We’ve seen that as a publicly owned company, they’ve been looking for new ways to strengthen the democratic conversation. As the client, they have safeguarded the independence of the format and helped ensure that the city’s decision-makers now have the citizen’s recommendations. And yes, as the members write, they recognize the City and Port of Copenhagen for initiating the citizens’ assembly, even if it came late in the process. Learning and experience that can be carried forward into the many challenges and transitions that our society will face in the future.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. The members of the citizen assembly. Experts and citizens who have contributed crucial knowledge and input. The appointed members of the Independent Expert Group and the Citizens’ Assembly Advisory Board. Follow-up researchers from the University of Copenhagen, Dublin City University and leading international deliberative expert profiles. Read more about the citizen collection at www.lynetteholm.borgersamling.dk