From Democratic Society
As part of our work developing the use of digital participatory budgeting (PB) in Scotland, Demsoc is shining a light on some of the innovative ways other people across the world use digital PB. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts on different examples that illustrate different aspects of how digital and PB work together. We’ll be cross publishing these posts – on the PB Scotland website and on our own blog. This week we start by looking at PB in New York City (NYC).
Why would you read this post?
This is about how NYC has included digital channels within its existing, and growing, participatory budget. If you’re thinking about how to use digital tools to expand and strengthen PB, then this large-scale case shows what can be done. It talks about:
- How digital participation can make it easier for people to have a say
- How online and offline channels can be combined to improve inclusion
- How NYC combines its online idea gathering with an innovative process of community-led review and investigation
- How open data has helped make the process more transparent
Participatory budgeting in NYC: how did it start?
In 2011, a small number of council members decided to use participatory budgeting to decide how their ‘discretionary’ funds could be used. Since then, PB has grown quickly in New York City. While it’s the second oldest use of PB in the USA it’s by far the largest, with it affecting the lives of four million residents. After the success of a public ballot in 2018, it is now set to be taken citywide.
How participatory budgeting works in NYC
PB in New York is about people sharing ideas for what should be funded, deliberating about them, and voting for their favourites. Each district that’s involved pledges at least $1 million dollars to be decided through the process, which has to be spent on physical infrastructure. The video below from the PB Project explains the basics:
Read more at the interesting Democratic Society!