By Mat Basford from the 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. We recently shared a blog post about digital PB in New York City. This time we’re doing things a little differently and have an interview with Hanne Bastiaensen about her work on Antwerp’s Participatory Budget.
What’s interesting about Antwerp’s PB? A lot. Antwerp’s Participatory Budget is built around offline discussions in which members of the public have to reach consensus to make their voice count. Over time they’ve carefully monitored who they are reaching, and used targeted activities to include those who are missing.
Last year, they took the step of including an option to cast a vote online. This addition is designed to be as straightforward as possible. The idea is that it gives people an easy way to get involved and find out more, and hopefully from here they’ll go on to take part in the offline consensus-building events. The online vote is given only a 20% weighting against an 80% weighting for votes cast collectively through offline events to push people towards these discussions. And it’s worked – the addition of this step has brought new people along to offline events where they sit down with their neighbours and trash out what projects should be prioritised in their city.
See the full article at the Democratic Society.