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Participatory Budgeting New York City (PBNYC)

From the NYC Council’s site on participatory budgeting:

Through Participatory Budgeting, community members – like you – directly decide how to spend at least $1,000,000 of the public budget in participating Council Districts. Share your ideas on the map for capital projects. Community members can propose and vote on projects like improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces. After you submit your idea on this Idea Collection Map, your idea will be given to community volunteers, called Budget Delegates. Budget Delegates work in your district to turn ideas into real proposals for a ballot, with input from city agencies. These proposals will be up for a community-wide vote in the spring.

In the first phase of the project, one of the ways that PBNYC collects community members’ input on projects they would like to see in their district is through using Open Plans’ Shareabouts. Without signing in, community members can view the projects submitted by others either in a map or a list form. To sign in, community members use either their Facebook and Twitter accounts and can then pinpoint a specific location either using a point on a map or an address where they wish to submit their idea. Each submission contains brief information about the proposal and is classified into one of the following categories:

Culture and Community Facilities, School and Education, Environment, Housing, Parks and Recreation, Public Health, Public Safety, Sanitation, Seniors, Streets and Sidewalks, Transit and Transportation, and Youth

Once signed in, community members can also comment on, favorite, and share proposals on social media.

During the rest of the PB process, city councilmembers and community volunteers use in-person, online, and text to spread awareness, get other community members involved, and remind them of important dates. In 2015, NYC Council decided to partner with Textizen to create a general number that community members could text to find out more about PB and receive text message reminders of local events and voting day.

For a brief video introduction of New York City’s participatory budgeting process, click here.

For more information on PBNYC, see the NYC Council’s 2017-2018 Rulebook.

An earlier iteration of the code for PBNYC’s Shareabouts Shareabouts map and software was made open-source and can be found here.

Additional information

Tools used

A list of tools that were used during this project: