What is participatory budgeting?
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process where community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The PB process involves a series of meetings and decisions that happen over four main phases including Idea Collection, Proposal Development, Voting, and Project Implementation. Please see the "What is a PB ?" page, the PB Chicago website or Great Cities Institute’s website for more information on PB and how each phase works.
Who is eligible to participate?
For the Idea Collection phase, anyone can submit an idea.
Ward stakeholders can develop project proposals during the Proposal Development phase, including anyone who lives in a participating ward, works in a participating ward, has a business in a participating ward, is a student in a participating ward or has children who are students in a participating ward.
Residents who live in a participating ward and are at least 14 years of age are welcome to vote.
Please see the PB Chicago Rulebook for more information.
How do I find out what ward I live in?
You can find your ward and alderman by using the City of Chicago’s ward lookup website and entering your street address.
How do I find out if my alderman is participating in PB?
A list of the alderman and wards participating in PB can be found by clicking on Wards' PBs from the Home page of this website and by going to the PB Chicago website.
Why isn’t my alderman participating?
Every alderman has been invited to participate however, it is their discretion whether or not to participate in PB. If you would like to talk with your alderman about doing PB, feel free to contact us at email@example.com so we can share information on how PB works and what the benefits to the community are.
How much money is at stake?
Each participating alderman is giving a portion of their aldermanic “menu money” for the community to decide how to spend. The range is from $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year. Please visit each Ward’s process to learn more.
What can the money be used for?
Every year the City of Chicago allocates “menu money” to each alderman for use on capital improvements in their ward. In the past, aldermen received $1.32 million a year. In 2021, the amount increased to $1.5 million. Most broadly, the money can be spent on infrastructure projects on public land. This budget is the main source of funding local infrastructure improvements like street repaving, pedestrian safety projects, lighting, traffic calming, and sidewalk repairs. Please see the "What is Menu Money?" page for more information.
Does this process happen annually?
Typically, PB happens annually in each participating ward. The intention is that PB will happen annually in each participating ward and expand to include additional wards throughout the City of Chicago.
Why should I sign-up and make an account for this website?
Signing up and creating an account is the best way to participate on this website. It is also one of the best ways to track ideas you like, to help get other people civically engaged and get notified when it is time to vote. You can get involved in PB without participating on this website. Contact a participating alderman’s office or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how.
How do I log-in to participate?
Sign-up here with your name, an email address, and a password.
Once logged in, you can check your Public Profile. The name and pseudonym fields are public and appear on your public profile as well as next to your proposals and comments:
● If you wish to remain anonymous, you can indicate a name and an identifier that does not reflect your first and last name; and/or
● If you wish to contribute on behalf of an organization (association, company, etc.), you can put the name of this organization as a name and/or pseudonym.
How do I submit an idea?
First, you have to log-in to the Platform with your account. If you don't have one yet, please follow the sign-up process described above.
When you are in your Ward’s process "Share your ideas!" section, you can add your own idea by clicking on "New proposal.” You then indicate the title and content of your proposal.
You have 30 minutes after submitting your proposal to edit it.
How to report inappropriate content?
If you notice that a proposal is inappropriate, you can inform the platform administrators by clicking on the flag visible in the title of the proposal, next to the name of its author.
You will then be asked to specify the problem and to say why this content seems inappropriate to you.
How to contact the site's moderators?
You can contact us at email@example.com if you encounter difficulties in contributing.