Participatory Budgeting (PB)
Learn More About PB
How Does PB in Chicago Work?
Participatory Budgeting in Chicago works through a four-step process that is sustained through continual community engagement and stakeholder input. The entire process takes approximately six months depending upon the participating ward, with each step building on the last, regularly taking into consideration community ideas and needs. The four phases include:
Idea Collection: residents share their ideas for how they would like to see the money spent and issues and needs they see in their community in a variety of ways including on the PB Platform, at community meetings or events, through social media or surveys, in an email or through a phone call.
Proposal Development: in each participating ward, residents volunteer to become Community Representatives. Community Representatives can be anyone who lives in the ward, works in the ward, goes to school in the ward, owns a business in the ward, or has a child that goes to school in the ward.
These volunteers review all the ideas with aldermanic staff for eligibility and feasibility with the PB pot of money, narrow the idea list down by subject matter or geography, research project ideas, and work with ward staff to vet project ideas with city agencies for feasibility and accurate pricing. They then deliberate about which final projects to select for the ballot using the PB Chicago goals of equity, inclusion, community and coalition building, sustainability, and transparency.
Voting: All ward residents 14 years of age or older are welcome to vote on which projects to fund. The top winning projects are funded until the available funds expire.
Project Implementation: Winning projects are submitted by the alderman’s staff to the appropriate city agencies for implementation. The alderman’s staff provide updates on project implementation regularly to Community Representatives so that they can track project progress and, when necessary, assist in making any additional implementation decisions with the alderman’s staff.