Meet the Citizens Who Helped Decide Their City’s Budget—and Got Better Buses, Benches, and Crosswalks
Article of Yes!Magazine May 20, 2016
Participatory budgeting, or PB for short, is the idea that putting some of the power of the purse directly in the hands of citizens can pay powerful dividends. It makes sure that the city funds things residents really want, strengthens democracy, and builds trust between elected officials and the people they represent. A growing number of cities around the world—including Sevilla in Spain, Belo Horizonte in Brazil, and Newcastle in the United Kingdom—use PB for slices of their budget.
The handful of communities that use it in the United States tend to be major cities and often leave the decision of whether to deploy it up to individual council members. The result is that one part of the city might have PB; another won’t.
That’s why what’s happened in Greensboro is so important.