History of Participatory Budgeting in Seattle
Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process that was first developed in Brazil in 1989 and is now practiced in over 3,000 cities around the world, including Chicago, Boston, New York, and San Francisco. Participatory budgeting focuses on engaging people who have not historically been involved in government or budget processes and lets community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.
The initiative began in Seattle in July 2015 when Mayor Ed Murray and former Councilmember Nick Licata announced the launch of a citywide youth participatory budgeting process called Youth Voice, Youth Choice.
In 2017, the program has been opened up to involve all Seattle residents. $2 million of the City's budget has been set aside for Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks and Streets, which wraps in what was previously known as our Neighborhood Park and Street Fund. Each of Seattle's seven council districts will vote on how to spend $285,000 for small-scale improvements to streets and parks within their district.