Digital and multi-channel citizen participation in Germany: A comprehensive overview of patterns, methods and determinants




Citizen participation, digital participation, spatial planning, spatial development


Citizen participation has played an increasingly relevant role in spatial planning and development aiming to shape sustainable and innovative processes since the 1970s. Nevertheless, analogue participation is associated with various problems, such as social selectivity and a loss of civic trust in administration and politics. Against this background, high expectations lie in the development of digital participation formats, which have significantly changed the participation landscape. Despite the rapid development of digital participation based on new technologies and external factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic, there is still a lack of comprehensive empirical studies on spatial patterns and determinants. Therefore, the aim of the paper is to give an overview of the patterns, methods and determinants of digital and multi-channel participation in Germany. We comprehensively investigated digital and multi-channel participation processes on the websites of German cities and districts – about 4,000 approaches in total. The results show spatial disparities in digital participation processes. While the availability of broadband internet and public debt do not significantly influence the digital participation density in districts and cities, low election turnouts go along with high densities. This suggests that the administrations are responding to political disinterest with digital participation. The results also indicate that digital participation can be less socially selective, as high shares of population without German citizenship, high migration rates and low employment rates have significant positive effects on digital participation.


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Issue publication date 2024-06-28 (version 2)
Published online first 2024-02-09 (version 1)




Research Article

How to Cite

Karic S, Heissler J, Althaus M-C. Digital and multi-channel citizen participation in Germany: A comprehensive overview of patterns, methods and determinants. RuR [Internet]. 2024 Jun. 28 [cited 2024 Jul. 23];82(3):215-30. Available from:

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