NYC Participatory Budgeting Wins $100K Prize

September 21, 2015
Jenn Stanley
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Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation last week recognized New York’s participatory budgeting program with the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government. The nod comes with a $100,000 prize.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, profiled recently in Next City’s “New York City’s Second-Most Powerful Politician Isn’t Waiting in the Wings,” has been a champion of participatory budgeting, along with Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander. The program has grown from four to 24 districts since 2011, and engages a wide spectrum of residents, including the formerly incarcerated. on determining how municipal dollars are spent.

“Last year, over 51,000 New Yorkers voted to allocate $32 million dollars for locally developed capital projects across the city, and we look forward to building on that resounding success in the upcoming cycle,” Mark-Viverito said in a press release about the awards.

She and her supporters hope NYC’s program will serve as a U.S. model.

“Participatory budgeting brings new voices into civic life, and PBNYC shows that more voices lead to better decisions and stronger communities,” said Josh Lerner, co-founder and executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project. “As we bring participatory budgeting to new budgets across North America, PBNYC serves as a shining model and a laboratory of experimentation for deepening democracy.”