Quality of life and common good
The City of Mannheim also addresses the issue of public welfare in terms of the qualitative growth of the city. What is meant is an added value in social and economic up to con-sumethical matters, which can be measured by an increasing quality of life for the urban society. For example, Mannheim's eight strategic goals use alternative indicators to measure the well-being (also in terms of prosperity) of the population in addition to classic indicators such as gross domestic product. Among other things, the satisfaction with the way people live together in Mannheim and the satisfaction with the cultural institutions are measured. Since the corresponding surveys are conducted regularly, a trend can be identified after several rounds. A further topic area besides the subjective perception of satisfaction up to the "happiness" of the inhabitants is the common good in an economic context. The rapid pace of globalisation is confronting many people with the question of whether pure performance thinking and the constant pursuit of material profit are the right levers for a fulfilled and sustainable life. Companies and public institutions are also increasingly concerned with this subject, the latter also under the aspect of democracy and public welfare.
To this end, the City of Mannheim has launched a series of events which at irregular intervals open up question rooms on more sustainable management in the sense of a public welfare orientation. At the invitation of the City of Mannheim and the Fritz Erler Forum, the journalist discussed with Lord Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz and citizens, under the moderation of the deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Dr. Gernot Erler, relevant factors for satisfaction and quality of life, particularly from the point of view of changing, more sustainable and conscious consumer behaviour in parts of society. The traditional growth indicator of gross domestic product was viewed critically. Petra Pinzler's book "Immer mehr ist nicht genug - Vom Wachstumswahn zum Bruttosozialglück" (More and more is not enough - from growth mania to gross national happiness) also highlighted the Mannheim administrative reform, which is intended to increase the quality of life in Mannheim on the basis of effect-oriented control of the municipality.
On 17 April 2013, an internal workshop of the administration dealt with the topic of the common good economy (GWÖ). Christian Felber, initiator of the GWÖ, was supported in his lecture and the group work by GWÖ-committed people from the Rhine-Neckar region. The planning steering committee of the city of Mannheim as well as Mannheim's cultural workers and representatives of the Mannheim economy dealt in various workshop modules with perspectives which GWÖ could point out as possible further impulse drivers for the sustainability of administration, urban society and local economy in times of changing economic conditions. The module of the planning steering committee also discussed the existence of the then current seven strategic goals with their indicators as well as their public welfare orientation and measurability to increase the quality of life in Mannheim. In conclusion, most of the participants rated the sustainability and transparency concept of the GWÖ positively, but did not yet consider a short-term introduction and implementation as possible. There was no doubt that GWÖ will be further dealt with along the lines of sustainability and quality of life.
In the aftermath of the workshop, the largest municipal event on this topic to date was on the programme on 21 February 2014. Under the slogan time for new managing - Öko-nomy and public welfare: Controversies in a successful city discussed mayor Dr. Peter short, Christian Felber of the GWÖ, the business guide of the institute for occupation and Employability, Professor Dr. Jutta Rump and dm founder Professor Gtz W. In the Council Chamber of Mannheim, Werner examined aspects of the common good, quality of life and economic strategies and questioned, sometimes from different perspectives, the reasons and potential of new consumption patterns, the sharing economy and the traditional measurement of economic growth and prosperity analyses based on gross domestic product. The approximately 400 visitors were interactively involved and were able to express their opinions on individual issues using different card colours. Almost all the guests agreed on the question of whether economy and public welfare were compatible and answered yes by card. Nevertheless, it became clear that despite all the improvements in sustainable communities and changes in consumption, too many natural resources are still being consumed, both in public procurement and in the everyday life of urban society. This raised the basic question of a new assessment of economic success that integrates ethics and ecology in the balance sheet. At the same time, the vitality of medium-sized companies in Germany and their connection with customer and employee satisfaction were emphasised. The participants agreed on one point in particular: only a system that includes participation in all social systems for all citizens will have the effect of enabling more conscious and resource-saving consumption and strengthening the quality of life and democracy on the ground.
On behalf of the municipal council, the City of Mannheim is now testing the GWÖ accounting on the basis of four pilot projects. These are:
Own operation of urban drainage (EBS)
FnF - Mannheim Society for the Promotion of Work Places GmbH
GBG - Mannheim Housing Association
mg: Mannheim Foundation centres GmbH
The results of this test will be reported to the local council in early summer 2020