Category Archives: Boston Participatory Budgeting

First Chapter: Democracy Reinvented by Hollie Russon Gilman

Gilman book coverBelow is an excerpt from Hollie Russon Gilman’s 2016 book, Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America. A postdoctoral scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Russon Gilman has long been affiliated with the Ash Center, most recently as senior adviser to our Technology and Democracy Fellowship program.

Democracy Reinvented assesses the opportunities and obstacles of participatory budgeting (PB) and civic engagement using hundreds of interviews, survey research, process tracing, and field observations. Based on Russon Gliman’s PhD dissertation, the book is one of the first academic works to extensively analyze participatory budgeting in the United States and its efforts to mend our democratic state. Continue reading

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Filed under Boston Participatory Budgeting, Cities, First Chapter, Innovation, Participation, Participatory Budgeting, Youth

Slow Democracy Builds a Better Park

Archon Fung. Photo: Martha StewartThis post was originally published by Harvard Kennedy School. Katie Gibson profiles the work of Archon Fung, Linda Bilmes, Hollie Russon Gilman, and other Harvard Kennedy School faculty, fellows, students, and alumni who are involved in studying, teaching, and practicing participatory budgeting. You can read more of the Challenges to Democracy blog’s coverage of participatory budgeting in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond here. Continue reading

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Looking for Inspiration? Five Noteworthy Innovations in Public Participation

participedia2This column profiles five recent entries in Participedia, an open global knowledge community for researchers and practitioners in the field of democratic innovation and public engagement. For more ideas, read our review of Participedia’s top innovations of 2013. Even better, visit Participedia to join the conversation and explore over 400 experiments in new forms of participatory politics and governance.
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Cambridge is Next U.S. City Looking to Foster Engagement with Participatory Budgeting

shutterstock_99387902 (2)This post by Derek Pham begins our coverage of a new participatory budgeting initiative in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. PB, as it is commonly referred to, was piloted by the city of Boston last year and resulted in the funding of $1 million to capital projects. Across the country, much of the investment by cities in PB is driven by the belief that it can catalyze changes in the relationship between the government and the governed for the better. Through PB, Cambridge hopes to cultivate a more diverse and participatory culture in local politics. Continue reading

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Top Stories of 2014 on the Challenges to Democracy Blog

By Archon Fung and Tim Glynn-Burke

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Errol Morris and Archon Fung discussing Morris’ film “The Unknown Known,” February 2014

2014 was full of noteworthy events and research when it came to the health of American democracy. From the President’s recent executive action on immigration to Thomas Piketty’s much discussed book on inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, there has been plenty to think about. Continue reading

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Filed under Boston Participatory Budgeting, Frontiers of Research, Future of Social Movements, Gettysburg Project, Innovation, Participation, Participatory Budgeting, Representation, Technology

Closing the Civic Achievement Gap? Youth Leadership in Boston

boston pbThis post continues our ongoing coverage of Boston’s first in the nation youth participatory budgeting initiative, which is soon starting up its second round. Read more about Boston’s Youth Lead the Change initiative here.

 

By Tara Grillos

In No Citizen Left Behind, Meira Levinson asserts “that there is a profound civic achievement gap between non-white, poor, and/or immigrant youth, on the one hand, and white, wealthier, and/or native-born youth, on the other.” She goes on to provide some guidelines for effective civic education to close this gap, emphasizing the importance of civic knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors. Continue reading

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What Happened When the City of Boston Asked Teenagers for Help With the Budget

HarvardAsh_2This post by Hollie Russon Gilman was originally published by Next City. We have been following the City of Boston’s first-in-the-nation youth participatory budgeting initiative all year. Read earlier posts from Russon Gilman and others here. Continue reading

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Participatory Budgeting: A Review of the Promise and Pitfalls

By Richa Mishra

ARI-Cameroon-Paper-cover-sml-208x300In December 2013, the White House included Participatory Budgeting as a key initiative in its Second Open Government National Action Plan. As a follow-up, in May 2014, the Office of Science and Technology hosted a day-long discussion on Participatory Budgeting among practitioners, academics and researchers, government staffers and funders. Around the same time, the Africa Research Institute published a report on a PB initiative in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The contextual details of these two events could not be more disparate and yet the key objectives and concerns revealed a striking similarity. Continue reading

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Youth Lead the Change: Boston Participatory Budgeting Goes Online for Idea Collection Phase

This post by Hollie Russon Gilman is part of our ongoing coverage of Boston’s first-in-the-nation participatory budgeting initiative, which is distinct in that it is youth-focused and being driven by the mayor’s office. Read our earlier posts here and here. Continue reading

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Participatory Budgeting: Re-imagining Civic Engagement in the City of Boston

This post by Crosby Burns recounts the first session of a new Cities, Technology and Democracy Study Group at Harvard Kennedy School hosted by student groups Tech4Change and Regional, State, Local and Tribal Professional Interest Council, along with the Ash Center. The session featured HKS Professor Archon Fung and Chris Osgood and Shari Davis from the City of Boston. The subject was Boston’s first-in-the-nation youth participatory budgeting initiative, with a focus on the practical challenges of implementation from political leadership to performance indicators. Continue reading

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Boston Launches First Youth-Driven Participatory Budgeting in the US

By Hollie Russon Gilman, PhD

There is a general sense that young people don’t want to engage in politics. And yet, we are seeing young people increasingly using new technologies to express their civic identities. Maybe young people are engaging politically in new ways? From crowdfunding for good or using social media to convey political preferences, perhaps young people can help us imagine and innovate new relationships with traditional governance institutions.

Boston’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) is an interesting example in envisioning just what is possible. Continue reading

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