Residents across Brooklyn will have the ability to vote on what will get funded with $1 million in discretionary funding for their districts this year.
As part of the city council’s Participatory Budgeting system, residents can review a slate of neighborhood projects and vote on which ones ought to be funded.
Choices in Bed-Stuy include options like:
- Sumner Houses basketball court reconstruction ($500,000)
- Exterior signage upgrade at Marcy Library ($70,000)
- Closed-circuit TV security at Nostrand Avenue train station ($500,000)
- Carpentry lab at Boys and Girls High School ($92,529)
All projects for all council districts are displayed and mapped out on a well-built New York City Council Participatory Budgeting site, which includes information on where and how to vote.
The practice has been around in New York since 2012, and has gained steam, with more council districts signing on. The idea originated in Brazil, and has been exported by a group called the Participatory Budgeting Project.
Participatory budgeting was created in 1989, when the city government in Porto Alegre, Brazil, responded to a call by civic groups for more input into government decisions. Used as a way to introduce transparency and restore faith in the system, it involved residents who were on the fringes of the democratic process, like poor people. Over the years, the residents were able to build clinics and develop sewage systems in villages.
Between the website and the ability for any resident to suggest a project, the project seems like a great use of technology in the use of running a modern democracy.