For some years, cities have been facing new social challenges demanding changes in traditional governance modes. Conflicts and civil protests in London (youth, 2011), Paris (banlieues, 2005 and 2007), and Hamburg (housing, 2009) have shown that parts of the citizenship no longer feel adequately governed. In several cities, reactions to this change of the political environment can be observed and processes of public participation, consultation, and civil self-organisation have been set up. Examples are Helsinki, with its envisioning process ‘Greater Helsinki 2050’, Hamburg with the initiatives ‘Nexthamburg’ or ‘Right to the City’, a citizen-driven protest movement that can also be found in other cities across the globe. This paper explores the changes of the political environment of urban development, shows consequent new forms of public dialogue, analyses the roles of different stakeholders in these processes, and discusses the opportunities and obstacles these approaches present regarding conflict resolution in urban development issues.