Participatory budgeting in Chicago’s 49th Ward is off to a strong start, with the first phase of neighborhood assemblies now complete. At nine assemblies, hundreds of residents identified over 200 project ideas and selected over 80 people to carry the process forward as community representatives. Spending ideas include community gardens, street paving, murals, bike paths, street lights, wheelchair ramps, and many more infrastructure improvements.
Steering Committee members, from local organizations, facilitated the meetings and played a large role in organizing the assemblies. Between December and March, the community representatives will meet to turn the initial spending ideas into concrete and feasible projects. Then in April, all residents of the ward will be invited to vote for the projects of their choice, to decide which get funded. For more information, see the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting website, or the media reports below:
– “A Grand Experiment in Budgeting” (Progressive Illinois)
– “Participatory Budgeting Comes to Chicago’s 49th Ward” (Prairie State Blue)
– “Participatory Budgeting #2: At the Neighborhood Assembly” (Prairie State Blue)
– “Alderman Joe Moore Asks His Constituents to Spend $1 Million” (Time Out Chicago)
– “Experiment in Democracy: 49th Ward Leads the Way in Participatory Budgeting ” (Chicago Talks)

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