This chapter examines the concept of “participatory budgeting” (PB). Since the centuries-old political institutions are ailing, perhaps a dose of modern technology could revive them; and since people are indifferent to public meetings and polling stations, perhaps they would show up for something online. Using the PB process, people decide how to spend part of the city budget through an annual series of neighborhood, district, and citywide assemblies. At these meetings, community members and elected budget delegates discuss community needs and set spending priorities. The United Nations and World Bank name PB a best practice of democratic governance. Most PB processes concern municipal spending, but states, counties, schools, and housing authorities have also begun using it for their own budgets.
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