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Participatory Budgeting: principles, history, and cases (Porto Alegre, Chicago) Dr. Michael Menser, Philosophy; Brooklyn College/CUNY;

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Presentation on theme: "Participatory Budgeting: principles, history, and cases (Porto Alegre, Chicago) Dr. Michael Menser, Philosophy; Brooklyn College/CUNY;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Participatory Budgeting: principles, history, and cases (Porto Alegre, Chicago) Dr. Michael Menser, Philosophy; Brooklyn College/CUNY; US/NYC Solidarity Economy Network Provost’s Task Force on City-based Sustainability Education/BC BC Sustainability Council Board Member, Institute for Sustainable Cities/CUNY

2 Participatory Democracy (PD) Participatory democracy (PD) is that view of politics which calls for the creation and proliferation of practices and institutions that enable individuals and groups to better determine the conditions in which they act and relate to others. Individual are agents (not just persons with interests looking to be represented) Not limited to formal politics, but includes the economic and social/cultural dimensions.

3 Examples of PD Historical Examples: Medieval Cities, Iroquois Confederacy (League of 6 nations), New England Town Hall Meetings, SNCC, SDS, Global Justice Movement Referenda (direct democracy) Criminal Trial Juries (chosen by lottery, consensus) Worker and consumer cooperatives’s Land trusts, credit unions Collective households, intentional communities Indymedia, Linux, Creative Commons

4 Participatory Budgeting Basics Participatory budgeting (PB): process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. Types of budgets: municipal, capital, programs, also budgets of schools, housing projects and non-profit organizations “Right to City” approach: need based, social inclusion There are over 1,200 participatory budgets around the world (Worldwatch Institute)..

5 PB is a Multi-stage Process: diagnosis, discussion, decision-making, implementation, and monitoring. Residents assemble in neighborhood meetings to identify and prioritize local needs, and elect delegates for each community to the city-wide PB council. Delegates discuss the local priorities and develop concrete projects that address them, together with technical experts (engineers, etc). Delegates vote on which ones to fund. The government implements the chosen projects, and residents and delegates monitor implementation (park, school, garden, bus line, cleanup of site).

6 PB1

7 Michael Menser: From Menegat 2002 Michael Menser: From Menegat 2002

8

9 Quantifiable Benefits of PB more equitable public spending, decreases inequality higher quality of life, increased satisfaction of basic needs greater government transparency and accountability, decreases corruption increased levels of public participation (especially by marginalized residents) democratic and citizenship learning

10 Development of citizen capacities for self- governance Educates citizens in how the budget process works Public speaking skills Distributes leadership, proliferates leaders Participants determine decision making process and rules

11 Inspired the unorganized to organize. Citizens have decisive, not just consultative power Number of delegates tied to number that shows up at neighborhood assemblies Privileges underserved and disempowered

12 Cultivated capacities for autonomy and self-development utilized in non PB activities. Housing cooperatives Solidarity economy Women’s movements Environmental movements

13 PB, PD and Sustainability Thematic assemblies Environmental Atlas of Porto Alegre Compiles ecological knowledge that is useful for residents, businesses, Ngo’s at local and citywide levels (e.g. species locations, waterflow) Written for high schoolers Michael Menser: Menegat 2002 Michael Menser: Menegat 2002

14 Keys to PB’s Launch and Success in POA Mayor’s office made it happen Worker’s Party (PT) supported it, had link to community groups Fiscal crisis opened up opportunity Political parties stay out Participants view it as worth participating: decisive power, clear benefits

15 Since when and now where? PB began at the end of the 80’s, in Brazil, when democracy was reinstalled in the country. Phases: I: Experimentation II: Expansion in Brazil III: Diversification in Latin America IV: International Awareness – 2005 Most experiences are still in Brazil, but many other Latin American cities have adopted PB in the last 5 years. Currently, cities from Europe, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe are exercising PB.

16 INITIAL PHASES Experimentation 1989 Porto Alegre, Brazil Santo André, Brazil 1990 Montevideo, Uruguay 1993 Belo Horizonte, Brazil Expansion in Brazil 1997 Recife, Brazil Alvorada, Brazil Caxias do Sud, Bra. Belem, Brazil Icapui, Brazil Mundo Novo, Brazil 1998 Juiz de Fora,Brazil 2001 Camphinas, Brazil Diversification in Latin America 2000 V. El Salvador, Peru Ilo, Peru 2001 D.Cuahutemoc, Mex. Cuenca, Ecuador 2002 Cotacachi, Ecuador Rosario, Argentina, Puerto Asis, Colombia Buenos Aires, Arg.

17 PB in US: Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, Chicago, 49th Ward Turning over his discretionary funds (“menu money”), 1 million for fiscal year 2009/10--to a PB process (in NYC each City Council member received $350,000 plus)

18 Chi-town PB Last spring, Alderman Moore brought together leaders of over 50 civic, religious and community organizations, asked each to appoint one or two representatives from their organizations to serve on a steering committee to design a participatory budgeting process for the 49th Ward. (committee was chaired by Jamiko Rose, Executive Director of the Organization of the Northeast) Steering Committee developed three-step process and timetable that will culminate in a ward-wide meeting next spring when the entire community will deliberate and vote on the 49th Ward infrastructure spending priorities for 2010.

19 Step 1--Neighborhood Assembly Meetings (Nov and Dec 2009) The ward will be organized into eight sections or areas, with a "neighborhood assembly" held in each area. (Also, a Spanish language assembly). Neighborhood assemblies will be open to any 49th Ward resident. Residents will receive info and brainstorm. At the conclusion, "community representatives" will be elected; they will be charged with developing proposals for infrastructure menu allocation.

20 Step 2--Community Representative Meetings (December-February 2010) The community representatives will meet to develop proposals for use of the infrastructure menu money to be presented at a ward-wide assembly in the spring. The representatives, at their discretion, may call additional neighborhood assembly meetings to solicit additional suggestions and bounce off ideas.

21 Step 3,Ward-Wide Assembly Meeting Final step of the process, community residents will gather at a ward-wide assembly to deliberate and vote on the 2010 infrastructure spending priorities for the 49th Ward.

22 Resources (some slides and quotes were taken from materials available there)


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