Through CitizenLab platforms, 500+ local governments and organizations are flipping the script, inviting their communities to co-author their shared future. From reshaping cityscapes and reimagining cultural events and collectively deciding how to spend public funds, these stories are all about action, impact, and making it count. Our team of engagement experts has handpicked these examples that are making real waves. Dive in now to get inspired!
City of Copenhagen invites residents to co-shape the city’s future through Proposals (Denmark)
The City of Copenhagen has launched an exciting and innovative engagement project to improve the city. All residents over 15 years old are invited to submit proposals. If a proposal receives 5,000 votes, it’s not just noted—it’s actively considered! Once a proposal reaches the threshold, it is reviewed by a committee before it is put up for a vote in the local city council.
Through this initiative, the city aims to reach up to 20,000 residents within the first year and a half. “Engagement and dialogue are the ‘key’ to turn Copenhagen into the capital many dream of,” Lord Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (S) said in a press release.
Example of a proposal on the City of Copenhagen’s engagement platform. The text was originally in Danish and this depiction is machine-translated.
Our team of developers worked closely with Copenhagen’s engagement team to customize both how community members can post their proposals and how the local team can manage everything in the back end. We’re excited to see how this transformational initiative helps amplify the voices of more of Copenhagen’s residents so they can directly shape the city they call home!
Wokingham Borough Council seeks community guidance on financial decisions (United Kingdom)
In the face of unprecedented financial challenges, Wokingham Borough is turning to its residents for input to shape its financial future. The council, grappling with low funding from the central government, soaring inflation, and escalating needs of its residents, finds itself in a difficult financial situation, necessitating immediate and long-term decisions that both keep the books in balance and protect services.
Wokingham’s engagement team launched a comprehensive survey on the borough’s CitizenLab platform to gather community perspectives on the principles guiding the council’s financial choices, explore sustainable long-term modifications, and brainstorm strategies for cost-saving.
Example of the questionnaire on Wokingham Borough’s engagement platform.
Recognizing the diverse needs of its residents, the council has made provisions for those who might require assistance in completing the survey. Community members who need help filling in the survey can complete it over the phone by calling the Customer Services Team or request a paper copy.
The response from the community has been nothing short of remarkable. In a month’s time, just under 4,000 residents already contributed their views via the survey, providing the council with diverse and insightful perspectives. This high level of engagement underscores the community’s keen interest in contributing to decisions, especially regarding budget allocation.
City of Vienna collects resident input for the redesign of an important axis to the city (Austria)
The Äußere Mariahilfer Straße is a key street in the 15th district and an important route to downtown Vienna. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive overhaul, the City of Vienna initiated a project to revitalize and transform it into a functional and appealing space for residents and visitors alike.
The objective is multifaceted: create a modern environment adapted to the needs of locals, pedestrians, cyclists, and businesses. This implies a collaborative approach to the redesign process, focusing on ensuring efficient, safe mobility and providing serene, inviting spots for relaxation and social interaction.
Example of the questionnaire on Vienna’s engagement platform. The text was originally in German and this depiction is machine-translated.
Using the CitizenLab platform’s built-in survey tool, residents had the opportunity to contribute their thoughts on key improvements. A whopping 2,043 community members took the time to fill out the questionnaire.
The insights gathered are currently being analyzed, serving as a critical component in drafting preliminary designs and strategies. By November 2023, the first set of plans for the new Äußere Mariahilfer Straße is scheduled for public presentation.
Town of Culemborg empowers residents to choose a new annual cultural event (Netherlands)
Culemborg is on the brink of something exciting, with plans to introduce a new annual cultural event designed to delight residents of all ages. But what’s truly groundbreaking is how they’re going about it: the town lets its residents decide.
Until the end of July, creative minds were invited to submit their ideas for an event that would become a yearly highlight in Culemborg. In August, proposals were evaluated against previously established criteria, emphasizing sustainability and the potential for long-term continuation. Three standout ideas were selected for a public vote.
Leveraging CitizenLab’s Approval Voting feature, one of the different Voting Methods available in the toolbox, the community buzzed with activity as residents cast their votes. The platform saw 1,020 people voting online, while an additional 121 residents participated in offline voting, demonstrating the inclusive nature of the initiative.
Example of the voting results page on Culemborg’s engagement platform. The text was originally in Dutch and this depiction is machine-translated.
Understanding that participation can take many forms and acknowledging the community’s desire to stay informed, we recently added a new ‘Follow’ feature to our platforms. This functionality caters to residents who prefer to stay up-to-date with the developments of projects that pique their interest, even if they choose not to contribute actively.
The immediate uptake of this feature has been remarkable, reflecting its necessity and value within the community. Over 1,400 residents have already started using the ‘Follow’ function to be alerted of new activity and progress in this project – a clear indicator of the feature’s relevance and the community’s appetite for a more flexible form of engagement.
Screenshot of Culemborg’s project page showing the ‘Follow’ button. The text was originally in Dutch and this depiction is machine-translated.
In the end ‘De Toffel Dagen’ emerged victorious! It promises to be a cultural spectacle where local talent, artistry, and entrepreneurial spirit come to life, showcasing Culemborg’s rich cultural and creative landscape.
City of Ostend calls for resident votes in the third edition of their participatory budgeting project (Belgium)
The City of Ostend is no stranger to the power of community engagement, and this is further evidenced as they rolled out the third edition of their participatory budgeting program, “Wijkprikkels”, early this year.
Since April 3rd, the residents of Ostend could put forward their proposals to improve the city’s neighborhoods. To realize these community-driven projects, the city made available 125,000 euros.
The call for ideas was met with 56 innovative proposals. After a thorough review by both the city and a neighborhood jury, 14 proposals were deemed eligible under the program’s guidelines.
In September 2023, the pivotal moment arrived: voting. Residents and second-home owners in Ostend who are 14 years or older could cast their votes for their top three projects through the city’s CitizenLab platform.
Each project requires at least 60 votes to be viable for implementation. The votes will directly influence the distribution of funds, making each one count. Following the voting period, the successful projects will have one year to transition from concept to reality.
Example of the voting page on Ostend’s engagement platform. The text was originally in Dutch and this depiction is machine-translated.
To ensure maximum accessibility, the engagement team made sure to make support available at local community centers for anyone needing assistance with voting or seeking more information about the projects.
Ostend has pulled out all the stops to communicate about and promote “Wijkprikkels”, utilizing social media ads and local radio broadcasts to amplify resident involvement. The radio show even invited residents who submitted a project to share their visions.
City of Annemasse invites residents to shape the future of urban planning and green spaces (France)
The City of Annemasse is calling on its residents to play a pivotal role in redefining its urban landscape. The focal point of this engagement initiative is the revision of the Plan Local d’Urbanisme (PLU) – a strategic blueprint that outlines the city’s major developmental directions and regulations for the next decade.
It encompasses a holistic approach to various policies, including environmental preservation, spatial planning, housing, mobility, public services, and economic development. And now, the city is turning to its residents to help shape this vision, particularly when it comes to the green lungs of the city – its parks and public spaces.
Here’s where CitizenLab’s platform becomes instrumental. Using the platform’s interactive Mapping feature, residents were invited to pinpoint areas they believe should be transformed into new parks or connected by pedestrian paths.
Screenshot of Annemasse’s project page showing the interactive map. The text was originally in French and this depiction is machine-translated.