New Idea Collection Record: 540 Ideas!

During idea collection in August, community members submitted a whopping 540 ideas! 

Scout Magazine recently highlighted some of their favorites - check out the article here.

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Many of our volunteer Budget Delegates met last night for the first time to learn about the next phase of PB - proposal development. 

Budget Delegates will be working in the following 4 committees to research and prioritize the 540 submitted ideas over the next few months and distill them into the final proposals that will appear on the ballot in December:

  • Culture & Community Facilities
  • Health, Environment & Safety
  • Parks, Recreation & Education
  • Streets, Sidewalks & Transit

The Parks, Recreation & Education committee will be based in one of the City's Youth Centers and made up of youth delegates who will do this proposal development work as part of a broader, structured internship program.

Stay tuned for more updates on all of the committees' work!


Volunteer as a Budget Delegate - Decide which Projects Make it to the Ballot

Budget Delegates are essential to Participatory Budgeting. Volunteering as a Budget Delegate is a great opportunity to become a community leader, develop teambuilding skills, get to know your neighbors, build your resume, and help make your city a better place.

Budget Delegates will take all of the ideas submitted by the community in August and will work during the fall to research, assess, and prioritize those ideas and determine which ones will be developed into full proposals for the public vote in December.

Read what one former Budget Delegate had to say about his experience this spring:

Read more

Help Us Spread the Word

If you have friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers who speak another language, help us get their ideas about how they would spend $600,000 to improve Cambridge. 

Please share the flyers below with speakers of Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Kreyol, Portuguese, and Spanish to get the conversation going. 

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Thanks for your help spreading the word!


PB1 Project Implementation Update

Since fiscal year 2016 officially began for the City on July 1, 2015, departments are now able to use the $528,000 that was awarded through the pilot Participatory Budgeting process to get started on the winning projects. 

As projects come online, keep your eye out for this sticker!

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Read on for a status update on the six winners...

Read more

Read the PB2 Rulebook

This rulebook was developed by the PB Steering Committee, the City of Cambridge, and the nonprofit organization The Participatory Budgeting Project in June and July 2015 to guide Cambridge's second PB process, which will run from June-December 2015.

Look inside to learn more about what kinds of projects are eligible for PB funding, who can participate as a Budget Delegate, and who will be able to vote for PB projects this time around.

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Idea Collection is Coming!

How would you spend $600,000 to improve Cambridge? 

Participatory budgeting is back, and we'll be collecting YOUR project ideas from August 1-31, 2015.  

The following 6 projects won funding during the last PB cycle:

  • Healthy trees for a healthy Cambridge ($120,000)
  • Laptops for the Community Learning Center ($27,000)
  • Bilingual books for children learning English ($7,000)
  • Public toilet in Central Square ($320,000)
  • 8 bike repair stations ($12,000)
  • Free public Wi-Fi in 6 outdoor locations ($42,000)

What would you like to see during this round?

Click here to learn about what kinds of project ideas are eligible for PB funding!


How did we do? Read the Evaluation of Cambridge's Pilot PB Process

Nada Zohdy, a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, completed an independent evaluation of the City's pilot Participatory Budgeting process in June 2015 to inform us about what worked well and what we should change in order to improve the process.  We continue to refer back to this tool as we plan for the various stages of the City's second PB cycle with the Steering Committee.

Please click below to download and read the complete report.

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New PB Steering Committee

Participatory Budgeting is back! 

The City received 24 Steering Committee applications from interested community members and we accepted all 24.  The new group met for the first time on Thursday, June 25 and there was great diversity, energy, and enthusiasm in the room. 

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Above: Some of the Steering Committee members pose with Budget Office and Participatory Budgeting Project staff for a group photo.

The following people will serve on the Steering Committee for the second PB cycle in Cambridge:

Read more

Students at the Community Learning Center Reflect on PB

On May 5, 2015, the Friends of the Community Learning Center (CLC) published a blog post on their website capturing CLC student and teacher reactions to the first PB process in Cambridge.

We had fun visiting CLC classrooms in December to explain PB and solicit students' ideas for projects, and more fun returning in March to pass out ballots and "I voted in Participatory Budgeting" stickers to students, some of whom were voting for the first time. 

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Help Us Improve!

We are planning to start the second PB process this summer so that we can wrap up voting by December and make the timeline more manageable for everyone involved. Before we launch the second round, we’d like to collect feedback from the community about what worked well and what could be improved through two primary channels:

  • An in-person feedback session on Tuesday, May 5th from 6-8pm at the Citywide Senior Center (806 Mass. Ave.)
  • An online survey
Read more


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