Participatory Budgeting (PB)
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What is PB?
Participatory budgeting (PB) is an innovative practice used around the world that invites individuals to directly decide how to allocate money from public budgets into projects that benefit their communities. PB gives ordinary people real decision-making power over real money. PB recognizes that oftentimes the people with the knowledge of how best to improve communities are the ones that live in them. PB began in 1989 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Since its inception, PB has spread to over 7,000 places around the world, constantly being tailored to each community’s’ unique context, culture, and needs.
Participatory Budgeting was first brought to the U.S. and to Chicago in 2009 when it was first conducted by Alderman Joe Moore of the 49th Ward. With the assistance of the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), a nonprofit organization that helps create and support PB processes, Alderman Moore implemented the process within the ward to spend his Ward’s “menu money” - funds that Aldermen are granted each year to spend on capital improvements. In 2012, University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute partnered with PBP, amongst other stakeholders, to launch PB Chicago and expand the process to additional wards across the city.