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Participatory Budgeting in Seattle?

As part of a Coursera class on citizen engagement, this proposal is part of the final project. Can participatory budgeting work for street repair (potholes, sidewalks, etc.)?

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Participatory Budgeting in Seattle?

  1. 1. Participatory Budgeting for Street Maintenance in Seattle, WA (US) Coursera “Engaging Citizens: A Game Changer for Development?” Final Project -- Digital Artifact Brian Hsi
  2. 2. Background ● Approximately 950 miles of streets in Seattle have no adjoining sidewalks ● Funding for sidewalk enhancements is set to expire in 2015 ● Seattle will be moving to district elections in 2015 ● In addition to sidewalks, a significant number of potholes still need to be filled* Seattle districts in the 2015 election http://www.seattle. gov/Images/Clerk/DistrictsMap.jpg *Up to date map on potholes filled or to be filled
  3. 3. As Seattle moves to district elections, why not allocate some funding for street maintenance (sidewalks, potholes, etc.) towards participatory budgeting?
  4. 4. How does this work? ● Citizen advisory boards (Pedestrian, Bike, etc.) need to be engaged ● Neighborhood Councils need to be engaged ● City Council members need to introduce municipal code changes based on citizen input ● Mayor needs to sign Foundational work Participatory budgeting Districtelectionsheld ● District residents determine funding priorities ● District residents also serve as “sensors” gathering needs assessments ● Department of Transportation (and other agencies) serve as subject matter experts for residents Implementation ● Department of Transportation completes work (or not) ● City Council Member works with City departments to ensure the work gets done, provide transparency, etc.
  5. 5. Risks and mitigations Well off areas (from a sidewalk, pothole, infrastructure perspective) continue to outpace other areas less well off Limit the program only to those areas in most dire need of improvements Determine funding to districts based on overall need Only those districts with robust social infrastructure to organize will benefit Use established Neighborhood Councils (or de facto proxies) as the central point of organizing POSSIBLE RISKS POTENTIAL MITIGATIONS
  6. 6. Measuring for success How do we know if the participatory budgeting exercise is successful? Here are a few metrics to consider: ● Completed projects -- an initial baseline will be established, and this will be compared with historical data of completion of projects in a given district. ● Time for completion -- again, an initial baseline will be established and compared against historical data. ● Percentage of residents engaged in the process -- an initial baseline will be established to see how this percentage changes over time ● Tenure of council member -- this will be an indirect measure at best, but there is a relationship of the ability of the council member to get something accomplished and their support from district residents