Is Participatory Budgeting Real Democracy?

Politics, People’s Choice Style in Chicago

Story by Anna Clark

Published on Apr 28, 2014

Drawing from a practice pioneered 25 years ago in Porto Alegre, Brazil, participatory budgeting cracks open the closed-door process of fiscal decision-making in cities, letting citizens vote on exactly how government money is spent in their community. It’s an auspicious departure from traditional ways of allocating tax dollars, let alone in Chicago where next week residents of the 49th District will decide how to spend $1 million in tax dollars. Journalist Anna Clark dives into the process, exploring how the next movement in democracy shakes out in Rahm Emanuel’s Chi-town.

Subscribe to Forefront for only $20/year.
You’ll get a new story each week and full access to our archives.