Participatory budgeting is starting to catch on here in the US. It has been developed in practice in other countries, most notably Brazil, and is seen as part of a solidarity economy. It is essentially a process for direct community control over city expenditures. A new report has just been released on New York City’s first pilot year on participatory budgeting (see below). For more, visit the Participatory Budgeting Project.
On September 20th, the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center released a new report, A People’s Budget: A Research and Evaluation Report on the Pilot Year of Participatory Budgeting in New York City. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a new process for capital budgeting in which voters directly decide how to spend millions of their own tax dollars, a first in New York City and only the second such initiative in the United States. The report details findings about who participated, and the impact PB has had on attitudes towards government, civic engagement and leadership skills. The research is based on over 5,000 surveys, 35 interviews and hundreds of observations. At the release, CDP researchers presented findings from the pilot year and recommendations for future PB processes. Council Members and PB participants discussed the report following the presentation.