Main goal: Fostering knowledge, sharing of good practices & supporting capacity building for the implementation of Participatory Budgeting in Smart Cities
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a form of participatory and inclusive democracy, where members of a community learn, debate and deliberate about the allocation of public resources. Although PB has received some criticism over previous years, with the increase in societal expectations, and the engagement powers of digital, PB is increasingly proving to be a powerful tool that enables society to contribute to the administration of their city, as active players in the decision-making processes. PB is now recognised to be as an appropriate tool for enhancing citizens’ capacity to co-decide..
After its journey started during the ‘90s in Brazil, a study from the European Parliament Research Service estimated that between 2005 and 2012 European examples of PB have increased from 55 to over 1.300: “a 2008 study estimated that overall, over 8 million European citizens are actively involved in PB” (EPRS, 2016, p.8)
Benefiting from the digital revolution implications, PB has a strong exploitation potential in the context of Smart Cities planning and implementation. In fact, many cities have been increasingly using on-line digital tools to implement PB, either through in-house designed or Open Source or proprietary platforms. PB could be experimented and piloted with thematic focus on areas of intervention which are particularly relevant for Smart Cities, such as smart mobility, energy efficiency, waste management etc.
The initiative is fine-tuning the detailed Roadmap 2018, but has presented its overall plan during the Citizen Focus Action Cluster meeting and the EIP-SCC General Assembly Breakfast – held, respectively, on October 11 and 12 2017.
The initiative aims at fostering knowledge transfer of key success factors for PB and the different merging models, assessing the potential of PB applied to smart cities planning and the role of digital platforms in supporting PB processes.
According to the Roadmap 2017-2020, activities are spread in two phases, been the first one focused on knowledge sharing, peer-to-peer activities and assessment and the second on implementation of piloting PB projects in Smart Cities.
Overall, the initiative goal is to assist all cities across Europe to implement PB projects from the feasibility assessment phase to the roll out and monitoring of the project itself, building on shared knowledge and best practices extrapolated from real cases worldwide.
The Roadmap is expected to be fine-tuned in the next weeks, based on the input collected at the Action Cluster meeting and at the General Assembly breakfast table. Meanwhile, the initiative has defined its learning and knowledge sharing plan which includes a series of three thematic webinars. They will be focusing on major aspects related to Participatory budgeting practices and tools. The first one will offer a benchmark of the main existing PB platforms EU-wide and will be delivered in the first weeks of December, followed by two others in the first months of 2018. The first one on the role of local administrations in enabling PB practices and projects and a second one on PB best practices, showcasing examples of successful cases. Check our webpage and LinkedIn page regularly to be constantly updated on our webinar plan as well as on other initiatives.