The implementation of Consul in Trier emerged as part of the city's efforts to enhance civic engagement and participatory democracy. Trier, a city with a rich historical heritage, has been proactive in involving its citizens in governance and decision-making processes. The move towards using Consul was driven by the desire to become inclusive in their efforts.

At citizens can engage and contribute their ideas, give feedback, and participate in the budgeting process in a transparent and direct way.

5 Pillars for inclusive participation

The current implementation of Consul in Trier is comprehensive, utilizing all five features offered by the platform. The city hosts an annual Bürgerhaushalt (citizens' budget), where residents can submit proposals and vote on them. In 2023, over 4,000 votes were cast on 82 proposals, with the top suggestions being reviewed by relevant departments and city council committees​​. Special aspects of Trier’s implementation include collaborative processes for drafting municipal regulations, an integrated urban development concept (ISEK) allowing citizens to comment and vote on urban planning measures, and a "Mängelmelder" for reporting issues or giving feedback directly to the administration without requiring registration​​.

Some of the best practices in its use of Consul:

Annual Bürgerhaushalt: This participatory budgeting process is well-structured, allowing citizens to actively shape the city's financial priorities. Proposals are first vetted by experts and then debated in public forums, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Comprehensive Urban Planning Involvement: Trier involves its residents in long-term urban development projects, from initial proposals to final prioritizations, thus fostering a sense of ownership and community involvement in city planning​​. More about ISEK, here.

Collaborative Drafting: The city engages citizens in drafting several key municipal documents, such as special usage regulations and fee schedules, through the open, collaborative texting tool, allowing comments and feedback to be directly integrated into the final versions​​.

Successes and Challenges

Despite the successes, Trier faces several challenges in its continued use of Consul:

Resources: Ensuring that there are enough resources (both financial and human) to review, implement, and follow up on the large number of citizen proposals and feedback is crucial.

Sustaining Engagement: Keeping citizens continuously engaged, especially between PB periods, can be difficult. The city must find ways to maintain high levels of participation and interest in civic processes. To tackle that, the city takes a very down-to-earth approach by becoming creative in the choice of participation topics, campaigns and technical execution, to keep the engagement and show even diverse opinions.


Trier is surely a leading example for participatory democracy. Through the refined use of Consul, especially variety of features and clarity of communication, that go hand in hand with the respective challenges, other cities could see it as a best practice example.

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