In 2009, we partnered with Alderman Joe Moore of Chicago’s 49th Ward to launch the first participatory budgeting (PB) process in the United States. PB Chicago now includes eight city wards, empowering diverse communities to directly decide how to spend $8 million each year for physical improvements to local schools, streets, parks, and other public spaces.
During each PB cycle, ward residents propose spending ideas, develop project proposals with stakeholders and experts, and vote on which proposals to fund. The projects that receive the most votes are submitted to the City for implementation.
PBP has served as the technical assistance partner for PB in Chicago since 2009. In developing both the 49th ward and multi-ward processes, we brought together dozens of local organizations and institutions to form a Steering Committee, which decided the basic structure and rules of the process through a series of our participatory rule-making workshops. On an ongoing basis, we develop tools and guide materials for city staff and participants; lead training workshops for participants, facilitators, and outreach volunteers; prepare educational and publicity materials; and offer technical support for Council Member staff in each participating ward.
- $10.3 million allocated directly by taxpayers
- Over 6,800 residents engaged in proposing, developing, and voting on project ideas
- 47 community-approved projects funded, including community gardens, murals, street repairs, and bike lanes
- Website: pbchicago.org
- Project Partner: Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago
- PB Chicago Rulebook
- Past Vote Results
- Participant Stories
- Facebook & Twitter
Interested in having PBP work with your city or organization? Read more about the technical assistance we offer.