PB Cycle 4

What is PB all about?

Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. The City hopes that PB will help directly involve residents in the budgeting and City-building process, foster civic engagement and community spirit, and help ensure that the City’s Capital Plan reflects the priorities of Cambridge residents.

The fourth Participatory Budgeting (PB) cycle in Cambridge will run from May-December 2017. This time, the City will set aside $800,000 of the FY19 Budget for one-time capital projects to improve the community. Winning projects from past PB cycles include a public toilet in Central Square, solar panels for the Main Library roof, bike repair stations, a freezer van for prepared food rescue, water bottle fill stations, bilingual books for children learning English, and many others.

After community members brainstorm project ideas in June and July, volunteer Budget Delegates will research and develop those ideas into formal project proposals from August through November. Proposals that are vetted by City staff and approved by the City Manager will appear on a PB ballot in December for a public vote. Winning projects will be included in the FY19 Capital Budget for adoption. 

PB Cycle 4 Timeline

  • Planning, recruitment of OUTREACH COMMITTEE (May 2017)
  • Community members brainstorm and submit IDEAS (June 1-July 31, 2017)
  • Volunteer Budget Delegates turn ideas into concrete project PROPOSALS (August-November 2017)
  • City staff vet proposals for FEASIBILITY and COST (November 2017)
  • Residents VOTE on which projects they’d like the City to fund (December 2-8, 2017)
  • RESULTS are announced and winning projects are included in the City’s FY19 Capital Budget (December 2017)
  • Projects are IMPLEMENTED (July 1, 2018 onward)

Idea Collection

To read about all of the ideas that were submitted in the fourth cycle, please click the map below:


Proposal Development

From August-November, 50+ Budget Delegates will work in five committees to research, assess, and prioritize all of the submitted ideas and ultimately develop 20 final proposals for the December 2017 PB ballot. Read the 2017 Budget Delegate Guide to find out more about the proposal development process.


  • published this page 2017-04-26 14:56:13 -0400

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