Chicago's 49th Ward tries participatory budgeting

November 2, 2010

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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49th Ward residents meet to discuss participatory budgeting. (Courtesy of The Watson Institute)

Tuesday millions of Americans will practice democracy as they take to the polls and cast their ballots. But residents of Chicago’s 49th Ward recently got the chance to exercise their democratic bent in a different way. Last April members of the community decided how to spend over $1 million of the ward’s annual budget. It’s a process called participatory budgeting. Though implemented worldwide, Chicago’s 49th Ward is the first municipality to try it.

Joe Moore is the Alderman of the 49th Ward and he explained why the Ward adopted this process. And Gianpaolo Baiocchi explained how participatory budgeting works elsewhere. He’s a Professor of Comparative Political Sociology at Brown University.