The Power Of Participatory Budgeting

An experiment in Ontario, Canada has ordinary residents meeting regularly to decide how government funds are spent on playgrounds, health clinics and adult education.

"In Guelph and Toronto, Ontario, low-income residents are determining how public funding is allocated for community services and infrastructure. Not only are participants altering public spending, they are also transforming the decision-making processes that determine this spending.

Guelph's Neighborhood Support Coalition and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Tenant Participation System are the first North American experiments with participatory budgeting, a democratic process in which city residents decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. In the face of Canada's increasing inequality and neoliberal politics, participatory budgeting has made public participation more powerful, government decision making more democratic and public spending more equitable. In Guelph and Toronto, participatory budgeting is being applied in innovative ways, generating new strategies for transformative community development."

Thanks to David Holtzman

Full Story: Let the People Decide

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