B for Participatory Budgeting


Participatory budgeting is tool implemented primarily in Porto Alegre, Brasil in 1989 as a response of the Workers party in power to understand the real necessities of the neighborhoods. It is relevant to emphasis that the city has an important background of neighborhood organization and active participation that related with the political scene created a proper context for the success of this participatory method. Participatory Budgeting mainly consists on the process whereby the citizens decide on the allocation of the local budget.  The success of the tool has been recognized extensively and is now being implemented in more than 1000 cities all over the world.



The case of Porto Alegre in Brasil has been evaluated satisfactorily because there is evident improvement mainly in access to water and basic sanitation, housing, street paving, education, health and social welfare. However, the translation of this tool into other context has to be very careful because the levels of participation and the political will vary within different context.  In addition, the volume of the budget determined to be part of the process and the real options of selecting the projects by the citizens have to be followed by a participatory construction of the projects in the planning, implementation and evaluation phases.


Further readings


  • Healey, Patsy (2012) The universal and the contingent: Some reflections on the transnational flow of planning ideas and practices
. Planning Theory. Vol. 11 pp. 188-207.

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