This program introduced participatory budgeting as a model for improving the democratic process in New York City. Participants heard from four trailblazing City Council Members who are implementing the first participatory budget project in New York, local community leaders, and representatives from national organizations promoting the value of participatory budgeting and exploring ways to institutionalize similar practices in multiple agencies and arenas of city government.
Panelists discussed ways to make government more transparent and accountable, assist in building community across class and race, and how to enhance civic learning, build capacity, and develop new leadership.
Participants learned how participatory budgeting gives ordinary people real decision-making power over real money. Community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The process has the potential to transform relationships between elected officials and their constituents, between residents and their communities, and between people and their government.