Youth Center Outreach

This week, the Participatory Budgeting team is visiting Youth Centers asking young people, how they would like to spend $1 million to improve Cambridge. We saw happy faces and received many creative ideas!

Do you have an idea for a PB project? Be sure to submit it before the July 31 deadline!


Door-to-door PB outreach!

The PB team, in collaboration with the Cambridge Community Corps, has been conducting door-to-door outreach in neighborhoods around Cambridge collecting PB ideas and recruiting volunteers for the proposal development process. In the last week, our team visited The Port, North Cambridge, and Wellington-Harrington having conversations with residents, and we plan to be in Riverside next week! so far, we’ve received over 800 ideas from the Cambridge community, and we hope to collect many more ideas in the final week of the Idea Collection phase. The deadline to submit ideas is July 31. If you see us in our blue t-shirts, please come say hello and tell us what projects you’d like to see funded by PB!

Stay cool Cambridge!


Meet the Budget Intern Team for PB9!

Hello! We are Yash, Victoria, and Gabriela and we are the Budget Office Interns for the 9th Participatory Budgeting (PB) Cycle. Our role in PB is to conduct public outreach, assist volunteers, and most importantly, collect ideas and connect with the community about ways to improve Cambridge. We are excited to join the Budget Team because we’re interested in building stronger relationships with Cambridge residents through PB.

PB is a unique democratic process that allows us to come together and hear the ideas of all Cambridge residents, regardless of age, immigrant status, ethnicity, etc. Our goal is to 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 and stakeholders. As we kick off this new cycle, we look forward to hearing all of your great PB ideas and seeing you in person at events around Cambridge. If you see us in our blue PB shirts, please don’t hesitate to say hello!

See you soon!

Yash, Victoria, and Gabriela


How would you spend $1 million to improve Cambridge?

For the 9th time since PB launched in Cambridge in 2014, Cambridge residents will be able to choose how to spend part of the City’s Capital budget. This cycle, the City has committed $1,000,000 to PB projects. Projects that won in past years include youth center upgrades, home essentials for newly housed residents, solar panels for the Main Library, laundry access in public schools, and many more!

To submit PB ideas to improve Cambridge, please click HERE, or: 

  • Call: 617-349-4270
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Mail: City of Cambridge Budget Office, 795 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139
  • Drop off ideas at the back of City Hall in the white drop-box.

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Cambridge residents who would like to volunteer and have a more hands on approach in the PB process can volunteer as PB delegates HERE.

PB Delegates are essential to Participatory Budgeting. PB Delegates are volunteers who work in the fall to research, evaluate, and prioritize the project ideas submitted by community members from August - November. These volunteers will ultimately develop the final project proposals for the annual PB vote in December. They do this through research, community assessments, and site visits, as well as through consultations with City staff regarding project feasibility and cost. This years' PB Delegate Orientation will be on August 4, 2022, from 6pm-8pm. Join us!


New Technology for the Cambridge Community Learning Center and the Main Library!

We are delighted to share that the winning PB7 proposal "Bridging the Digital Divide” ($95,000)" has been completed and installed at the Cambridge Community Learning Center (CLC) and the Main Library! To help address digital equity, the PB proposal called for purchasing 100 Chromebooks and 75 mobile hotspots for the Cambridge Community Learning Center and Public Library to better serve their adult learners and borrowers. As of March 2022, CLC learners and community borrowers at the Main Library can now access these new devices. Below is a photo of the new technology at CLC, for more pictures, please check out the project proposal page here!

 


Vote on PB Projects December 3 - 12

Participatory Budgeting voting is around the corner! The City of Cambridge invites residents age 12 and older (including all 6th graders) to vote on projects to improve the city from December 3-12, 2021. This process is open to everyone in the Cambridge community, including non-U.S. citizens and university students.  

Starting December 3, Cambridge residents can vote online at: pb.cambridgema.gov.  

Online voting will be text message authenticated; voters will enter their cell phone number on the PB website, a code will be sent to them via text message or email, and then they will enter that code online for one-time access to the ballot. The online ballot will be available in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Portuguese, Amharic, Arabic, and Bengali.

Residents can also vote over the phone by calling the Budget Office at 617-349-4270 during regular business hours: Friday, Dec. 3, from 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Monday, Dec. 6, from 8:30 a.m.– 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Dec. 7- 9, from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday Dec. 10, from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Past winning PB projects have included musical instruments for CRLS students, universal swing sets in parks, laundry access in Cambridge public schools, pedestrian-controlled crosswalk lights, bilingual books for kids, extension of outdoor Wi-Fi, and many others.

Projects are eligible for funding if they:

  • Benefit the public; 
  • Are capital projects (something bought or built); 
  • Are one-time expenditures that cost $1 million or less; 
  • Are implemented by the City of Cambridge on city property (streets, sidewalks, parks, libraries, schools, youth centers, senior centers, municipal buildings, etc.).


New Laundry Access in Public Schools!

We are proud to announce that the winning PB6 proposal "Laundry Access in Public Schools ($50,000)" has been completed and installed at Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Cambridge Street Upper Schools! The proposal called for installing washers and dryers for students who do not have easy access to laundry services to use for their clothing and necessities. As of October 2021, students at CRLS and CSUS can now access these new laundry units. Below is a photo of the new Falcons Laundromat at CRLS, for more pictures, please check out the project proposal page here!

 


Participatory Budgeting (PB) is back!

For the 8th time since PB launched in Cambridge in 2014, Cambridge residents will be able to choose how to spend part of the City’s Capital budget. This cycle, the City has committed $1,000,000 in FY22 capital funds for PB projects, doubling the allocation from $500,000 in last year's condensed and modified COVID-19 PB7 cycle.

Anyone interested in submitting PB ideas for how to improve Cambridge please click HERE, or:

Telephone: 617-349-4270

Email: [email protected]

Mail: City of Cambridge Budget Office, 795 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139

Drop off ideas at the back of City Hall in the white drop-box.

Cambridge residents who would like to volunteer and have a more hands on approach in the PB process can volunteer as Budget delegates HERE

Budget Delegates are volunteers who work in the fall to research, evaluate, and prioritize the project ideas submitted by community members from August - November. Budget Delegates ultimately develop the final project proposals for the annual PB vote in December. They do this through research, community assessments, and site visits, as well as through consultations with City staff regarding project feasibility and cost. Budget Delegates evaluate submitted ideas on three main criteria: need, impact, and feasibility. This years' Budget Delegate Orientation will be on Tuesday, August 3rd from 6-8pm. The deadline to apply is August 1, 2021.

 

As Cambridge emerges from such a difficult and tumultuous period, it is our sincere hope that PB8 can serve as a vessel to re-animate our bonds of fellowship through collaboration and participation. We hope that Cantabrigians can get back to working together to tackle issues through PB with an innovative civic spirit that will form new relationships with community members and City officials. In doing so, not only will Cambridge bear the fruits of creative PB projects, but residents will be able to once again be able to claim and improve the parks, streets, and community spaces that make our City so special.

 


2019 PB Vote Results

The results are in for the City of Cambridge’s sixth Participatory Budget (PB) Process. 7,602 Cambridge residents age 12 and older voted to decide how to spend $1,000,000 on capital projects to improve the community – the most votes yet in a PB process in Cambridge, a 11% increase from last year! 

The following 8 projects won $1,125,000 in FY21 Capital Funding:

1.   Close the Canopy ($200,000)

2.   Water Bottle Filling Stations for the Major Squares ($150,000)

3.   Laundry Access in Public Schools ($50,000)

4.  Pedestrian-Controlled Crosswalk Lights ($150,000)

5. Extend Outdoor WiFi ($50,000)

6.  Make the City Bloom with a Habitat Corridor ($75,000)

7. Keeping Cambridge Clean ($100,000)

8. Public Bathroom ($350,000)

Please see below for a breakdown of PB votes by project.

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Our Summer! Idea Collection with the PB Interns

Follow the journey of two of our Summer Interns as they describe their summer collecting ideas for Participatory Budgeting in Cambridge!

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