What is PB?
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. It gives people real power over real money.
PB started in Porto Allegre, Brazil, in 1989, as an anti-poverty measure that helped reduce child mortality by nearly 20%. Since then PB has spread to over 3,000 cities around the world, and has been used to decide budgets from states, counties, cities, housing authorities, schools, and other institutions.
The New York Times calls PB “revolutionary civics in action”— it deepens democracy, builds stronger communities, and creates a more equitable distribution of public resources.
How does PB work?
PB is an annual cycle of engagement that is integrated into a regular budgeting process. A typical PB process follows these steps, usually over the course of a year: