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Participatory Budgeting (Porto Alegre, Brazil)

Give ordinary residents a role in deciding how to allocate part of a municipal or public budgets.

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Participatory budgeting emerged in Porto Alegre, as a result severe inequality in living standards amongst city residents. The process occurs annually, starting with a series of neighborhood, regional, and citywide assemblies, where residents and elected budget delegates identify spending priorities and vote on which priorities to implement. Around fifty thousand residents of Porto Alegre now take part in the participatory budgeting process, with the number of participants growing year on year since 1989. Participants are from diverse economic and political backgrounds.

Participatory budgeting has spread to hundreds of Latin American cities, and dozens of cities in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. More than 1200 municipalities are estimated to have initiated participatory budgeting.

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This is definitely very interesting, it's good to see how they are attempting to get the greater public more involved with the system, rather than just with a simple election.

Rachel makes a good point about how easily this could become complicated though. But with some care I'm sure it could be done correctly.