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How communities are using direct democracy to shape city budgets (Waging Nonviolence)

A recent poll conducted by Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who trust the public in handling issues is at an all-time low. Reasons for this vary, with eroded faith in institutions playing a role. Yet, in more than 40 neighborhoods across the United States, a new tool called participatory budgeting is boosting confidence among citizens in working with neighbors to solve problems together.

Participatory budgeting first began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. There, the Workers’ Party created a process allowing residents to submit ideas that would be eventually voted on. The most popular projects would receive funding from an allocated budget. This became popular among residents and is still in existence today.

via How communities are using direct democracy to shape city budgets

The idea of setting aside a certain amount of funds (like 0.5%) of city funding to be allocated through a direct democracy process sounds intriguing and might pull in more people to be involved with their towns.

Looking forward to hearing more examples.


One Response

  1. curious. I wonder if it work in a small town like the one I live in. The library is always fighting to keep the funds they have because the ‘big guys’ don’t think we are important. I’m not actually sure the city would either….However, an old important building in town is being purchased by town members. Am not sure exactly what they will do with it. I’m going to look into it more when I get back.

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