Participatory Budgeting at the US Social Forum

The Participatory Budgeting Project is excited to announce a special workshop at the US Social Forum in Detroit, featuring organizers of the first participatory budgeting process in the US (Chicago’s 49th Ward) and the largest process in North America (Toronto Community Housing).
Participatory Budgeting in the US: Public Control Over Public Money
June 25, 2010 – 10am-12pm
Cobo Hall: W2-58
Sponsoring Organizations:
The Participatory Budgeting Project, Community Voices Heard (New York), Toronto Community Housing, Office of Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward Chicago), Rogers Park Community Council (Chicago), Liberty Tree Foundation
This session introduces participatory budgeting and explores how it has been used and could be used in North America. Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Since 1990, it has spread from the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre to over 1000 cities around the world, including several in Canada and the US. It has helped communities gain democratic control over spending and policy decisions in municipalities, public housing, schools, and organizations. This has led to more informed and equitable spending, more accountability and transparency, and more active and organized communities.
After a brief introduction, presenters will share their experiences through a roundtable discussion. Representatives from Community Voices Heard will discuss why community control over budgeting matters and how they are organizing around budget participation in New York. Representatives from Toronto Community Housing and Chicago’s 49th Ward will present their experiences with participatory budgeting. The session will then break up into facilitated small groups, to discuss key question, challenges, and opportunities for participatory budgeting in the US.