About Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting: Participatory budgeting is a process that happens each year over the course of several stages. Here, we outline our vision for a people-centered participatory budgeting process, and explain how each step contributes to a more democratic budget.


1. Set Issue Areas
1. Setting Issue Areas The participatory budgeting process begins with a community-led oversight board choosing the focus areas for that year’s cycle. These issue areas, which might include topics such as housing, green space, or transportation, are developed in collaboration with community members from each neighborhood. The chosen issue areas then determine what kinds of projects and programs can be funded through that year’s PB process.
2. Gather Community Needs
2. Gathering Community Needs During this phase, community members have an opportunity to present their communities’ greatest needs and their hopes for the future of their neighborhood. This information creates a foundation for future stages of the participatory budgeting process, especially the needs prioritization and solutions gathering stages.
3. Needs Assemblies
3. Needs Assemblies In this step of the participatory budgeting process, neighbors come together in public meetings to discuss and prioritize the needs expressed by their communities. The goal of these meetings, or assemblies, is to prioritize neighborhood needs so that solutions can begin to be developed.
4. Gather Solutions
4. Gather Solutions to Community Needs In this stage, residents propose solutions based on the needs discussed earlier in the participatory budgeting process. Having community members propose their own solutions ensures that projects and programs will center the knowledge of people who know the neighborhood best.
5. Prioritize Solutions
5. Prioritize Solutions In this phase, residents come together to discuss the solutions proposed by their neighbors. By participating in public assemblies, community members will have a chance to deliberate over the pros and cons of various solutions, and ultimately prioritize the solutions they want to see implemented.
6. Develop Proposals
6. Develop Proposals In this phase of the process, the Office of Participatory Budgeting turns solutions developed through community assemblies into fully-fledged proposals, which can then be voted on by community members.
7. Assemblies: Review & Vote On Proposals
7. Review Proposals and Vote at Assemblies In the final stage of the PB process, participants vote on the proposals they want to see implemented in their neighborhood. Proposals which receive the most votes are binding, and will be implemented by the city.

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