Chicago's $1.3 Million Experiment in Democracy

The first year of participatory budgeting in Chicago’s 49th Ward concluded last week, with huge turnout for a final voting day. Residents selected 14 community projects for funding, and thanks to strong support from community members and the Alderman, preparations for next year’s process have already begun. Megan Wade Antieau and I have a new article in YES Magazine reviewing the process:
Chicago’s $1.3 Million Experiment in Democracy: Participatory Budgeting in the 49th Ward
On Chicago’s far north side, citizens are taking democracy into their own hands. Through the first “participatory budgeting” experiment in the United States, residents of Chicago’s 49th Ward have spent the past year deciding how to spend $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars. Over 1,600 community members stepped up to decide on improvements for their neighborhoods, showing how participatory budgeting can pave the way for a new kind of grassroots democracy, in Chicago and beyond.
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