Cambridge Day: Public toilet, new trees, outdoor Wi-Fi win bulk of participatory budgeting’s $500,000

Marc Levy
April 7, 2015, revised April 27, 2015

The results of Cambridge’s $500,000 experiment in participatory budgeting were announced Tuesday, with six projects announced as getting funded8: free Wi-Fi in six outdoor spaces; a 24-hour access public toilet near Central Square; computer equipment for the Community Learning Center on Western Avenue; up to 350 bilingual books for children learning English; bike repair stations with tools and bike pumps to be installed around the city; and 100 new trees with educational signs.

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Boston Globe: Cambridge lets the public decide how to spend $500,000

Steve Annear
March 27, 2015

Fancy an outdoor restroom with contextual artwork and solar panels? Perhaps some workout equipment at the park where you could flex some muscle is more appealing.

In Cambridge, it could happen.

Those are among the ideas submitted by residents as the city opens up its budget process for public input on how to spend a half-million dollars.

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Harvard Crimson: Cambridge Residents Vote on $500,000 Participatory Budget

Samuel Liu
March 25, 2015

A billboard in front of Cambridge City Hall asks: How would you spend $500,000 to improve the city?

From March 22 to 28, Cambridge residents 12 and up will be able to vote on projects proposed by residents for city improvements. For its first participatory budget, the city will set aside $500,000 to fund one-time capital projects chosen from a pool of 20, which was whittled down from an original list of 380.

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22-CityView Spotlight: Participatory Budgeting

March 24, 2015

Cambridge Budget Department Director Jeana Franconi discusses Cambridge's new Participatory Budgeting Initiative.

Cambridge Day: Tell the city what to buy with $500,000 starting Sunday in week of project vote

Marc Levy
March 20, 2015

Voting begins Sunday to direct spending of a half-million dollars on projects citywide, with the 20 options starting as small as $7,000 to buy up to 350 bilingual books for kids learning English and getting as big as a $350,000 amphitheater in Danehy Park.In this first-ever use of Participatory Budgeting in Cambridge, voting runs for a week, can be done online (and is the first using an online-voting tool developed at Stanford to prevent fraud) and includes every resident down to 12 years of age.

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Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge voters to decide how $500K is spent in city’s budget

Sara Feijo
March 18, 2015

Lifelong Cambridge resident Ebi Poweigha felt helpless as she watched the city transform itself one construction project at a time.

But that feeling has changed since her involvement in Cambridge’s first ever-Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative, which will allow residents to decide the fate of $500,000 of the city’s 2015-2016 capital budget next week.

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Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge residents to have say on $500K as part of participatory budget

Sara Feijo
November 13, 2014

For the first time ever, it’s up to Cambridge residents to decide how to spend $500,000 of the city’s 2015-2016 capital budget.

The goal of the participatory budget initiative, which was first implemented in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989, is to involve residents in the budgeting and city-building process, and help ensure that the city’s capital plan reflects the priorities of residents.

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