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Participatory budgeting in Trogir (Croatia) 

The participatory budgeting and decision-making model enables local residents to decide on the application of part of the city’s budget and the practical initiatives to be carried out in their city.  

About the Historic City of Trogir

The Historic City of Trogir was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997 under criteria (ii) and (iv). The city presents a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period.

© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent

Participatory budgeting

Since 2018, the City of Trogir has developed a yearly model for participatory budgeting and decision-making, which enables local residents to decide on the application of a modest part of the city budget. The participatory budgeting project, pioneer in the Dalmatian region and among the few in Croatia, aims to raise the level of citizen participation in the decision-making process at the local level.

The model is applied to all eight neighbourhoods in the city of Trogir, including the historic centre which forms part of the World Heritage site. The total amount ranges from 1.350.000 KN (approx. 180.000 EUR) for the whole city, to 145.000-300.000 KN (approx. 20.000-40.000 EUR) for a single city borough or committee, such as the Historic City. 

Residents can propose projects in eight local committees representing each of the neighbourhoods, after the yearly tender officially opens. The tender is promoted through the City’s official platforms and local media. Citizens can propose their suggestions of small communal investments via e-mail, online form, by post or in person, by filling out the form on the spot and inserting it into the provided box.  

After the financial and technical evaluation of all citizen proposals, a public voting is organised. Any citizen living in a particular neighbourhood can give a vote, either in person or through an online form, to a project they consider a priority for their neighbourhood. Voting is also open to people who were not involved in submitting a project. All Trogir residents are invited to participate in a public discussion event in their neighbourhood. Once projects have been selected, the City undertakes their implementation in the following year. Projects located in the historic centre are developed in close cooperation with the Conservation department of the Croatian Ministry of Culture, in order to ensure their positive or neutral impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

The Municipality of Trogir reports that the participatory budgeting process has contributed to build a direct relationship and mutual trust with citizens, as well as the successful development of approximately 100 practical projects such as small infrastructure upgrades (street furniture, balustrades, lighting), construction of children playgrounds and enhancement of open and green spaces.

Source: Ms Ruža Kovačević Bilić, City of Trogir, 2020-2021

Contribution towards the implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape

The participatory budgeting programme aims to contribute to the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape approach by developing a participatory approach to urban management. 

Historic Urban Landscape Tools

Civic engagement tools Financial tools

Contribution towards Sustainable Development

If fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could contribute towards Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

  • Target 11.3: the participatory budgeting programme aims to enhance inclusive and sustainable urban development.
  • Target 11.4: the participatory budgeting programme aims to contribute to the protection and safeguarding of the world’s cultural heritage by promoting citizens’ involvement in its preservation. 

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

  • Target 16.7: the participatory budgeting programme aims to promote responsive, inclusive and participatory decision-making at the local and neighbourhood level. 

Note: the described potential impacts of the projects are only indicative and based on submitted and available information. UNESCO does not endorse the specific initiatives nor ratifies their positive impact.

To learn more
  • Watch the presentation by Deputy Mayor Ms Ruža Kovačević Bilić, during the International Scientific and Practical Online Conference on “World Heritage Sites: Sustainable Development Practices for Urban Heritage”, 2020.
  • Watch the video project presentation.

City of Trogir

Cover image © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent. Permanent URL: whc.unesco.org/en/documents/126580

Note: The cases shared in this platform address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Items being showcased in this website do not entail any type of recognition or inclusion in the World Heritage list or any of its thematic programmes. The practices shared are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and site managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on heritage conservation with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.