A Participatory Budget in New York
budget for participation projects
Within a participative budgeting project in New York in 2016, the city hall enabled citizens to distribute $38 million among projects proposed by members of the community. This was the largest project of its kind in North America. In 2015/16 the fifth round took place, with the involvement of 28 out of the city’s 51 districts.
Effective Collection of Citizen Demands and Online Voting
The Speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito and her team wanted to simplify project idea sharing for participants, enable community feedback, ensure secure registration, provide an online voting option both on the spot and from home, and save taxpayers’ money (and the forests) by printing fewer paper documents and making vote-counting more efficient.
Automated Creation and Counting of Paper Ballots
The D21 team cooperated with the Council to enable online voting in all 28 participating districts for the first time. In 11 districts, residents could register personally in advance and then vote securely from their computers or phones. Another great advantage provided by D21 was the automated creation and counting of paper ballots, which made ballot counting much faster and more error-free.
The D21 Digital System
Five districts used D21 voting for the creative collection of ideas at neighborhood meetings, giving hundreds of community members a chance to provide their feedback. This simultaneously spread the news among citizens that a PB was in progress. And last but not least, the creation of the D21 digital system for on-site voting administration helped the Council to standardize the voter registration process across all participating districts, print fewer unused ballots, and let voters vote in their home district from any voting booth citywide.
The D21 digital voting-administration system was extremely successful. Many districts praised the fact that they did not have to reject voters from other districts. The districts that had used D21 voting to collect ideas in the previous process phase appreciated the usefulness of this tool. In Queens alone, over 600 community members got involved. During voting week, hundreds of voters could vote “remotely” from another voting room thanks to the wide availability of digital ballots. Compared to 2015, this saved the city the costs of thousands of unused paper ballots. And last but not least, D21’s local ballot-counting team managed to process 67,000 ballots in less than three days, which is a tremendous improvement compared to the 23 days that city officials had needed for ballot-counting the year before.
Based on a conception for transforming the public spaces in the Prague 10 district, that district’s council decided to create an urban-planning study for the Na Solidaritě Park. Within this project, a participatory urban-planning survey was organized with the aim of ensuring that the city-planning changes met the needs and demands of the citizens who lived nearby the park and who used it the most