WBUR: Cambridge Gives Residents A Direct Say In Budgeting For The Next Fiscal Year

Sharon Brody
December 5, 2015

Listen here: http://www.wbur.org/2015/12/05/cambridge-participatory-budgeting  

The city of Cambridge is upending some of the top-down decision making as it puts together its budget for the next fiscal year. It’s inviting residents to vote directly on a range of projects worth $600,000.

The process is called participatory budgeting — it was first developed in Brazil about 25 years ago. 

Cambridge residents, ages 12 and older, could vote online or at town events from Saturday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 12.

Budget director Jeana Franconi joined WBUR’s Weekend Edition’s Sharon Brody to talk about the effort.

Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge asks residents to spend $600K with second Participatory Budget

Natalie Handy
December 2, 2015


The city of Cambridge has opened up a portion of the fiscal 2017 budget to the community, asking residents as young as 12 years old to cast their vote on how the city should spend $600,000 as part of the second Participatory Budget.

From Dec. 5 to Dec. 12, voters will cast their ballots online or at municipal buildings to narrow down 23 proposals to just six projects.

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City of Cambridge: 2015 Participatory Budgeting Vote Video

Scout: Five Participatory Budgeting Proposals We Love

Emily Cassel
September 3, 2015


The project proposal period for the second round of participatory budgeting wrapped up on Monday, with ideas that were futuristic (using gym equipment to power an electrical grid), suggestions so nice that they popped up twice (Kendall and Central Square had residents requesting public, real-time transit screens) and submissions that were at least a little tongue in cheek (“Stop giving out licenses to build high priced condos in North Cambridge,” one concerned resident suggested. “You have done way too many and are extremely irresponsible for doing so. PLUS you can do it for FREE.”).

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Boston.com: Cambridge wants your votes on how to spend $600,000

Eric Levenson
August 17, 2015


A year after its residents voted to spend $320,000 on a public bathroom, the city of Cambridge is ready for its second go-round of participatory budgeting.T

his time, about $600,000 is up in the air, up from $528,000 total last year.

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Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge seeks public's input on how to spend $600K

July 30, 2015


After a successful pilot process in 2014-15, the city launched its second participatory budgeting initiative in June by recruiting a 24-member steering committee to oversee the process. Participatory budgeting is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

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Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge residents to decide fate of $600K as part of Participatory Budget

Sara Feijo
June 15, 2015


After a successful pilot, Cambridge kicked off its second Participatory Budgeting (PB) process this month.

This time around, however, the city is setting aside $600,000 from the fiscal 2017 budget for project ideas that will improve the community.

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Boston Globe: Making local government engaging

Dante Ramos
April 12, 2015


Something unusual happened in Cambridge the other night: There was a public meeting about capital budgeting, and yet somehow there was electricity in the air.

Last year, Cambridge set aside $500,000 for one-time projects, solicited 380 proposals for how to use it, and set up a series of committees to winnow them down. Residents age 12 and up could choose among the 20 best pitches. More than 2,700 Cantabrigians voted, either on paper or online, and scores of people crowded a room at the Cambridge Senior Center Tuesday to await the results.


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Cambridge Chronicle: Free Wi-Fi, trees, public toilet top citizens' budget choices for Cambridge

Monica Jimenez
April 8, 2015


Bicycle repair stations, public trees and free outdoor Wi-Fi will be coming soon to Cambridge if approved by the City Council this spring, but one benefit has already arrived: a participatory budget tradition.

In a crowded awards ceremony April 7 at the Cambridge Citywide Senior Center, city officials announced six winning ideas from a first-ever process allowing Cambridge residents to choose exactly where and how to spend $500,000 of the city's free cash.

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