Hollie Russon-Gilmanwas quoted in the Guardian about participatory budgeting in Boston:
Participatory budgeting has been used in one form or another in an estimated 1,500 cities worldwide since it first started in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. But Boston’s is the first for youth only. The programme began under former mayor Thomas Menino and came to fruition after Martin Walsh assumed the office in 2014.
“It’s a truly transformative process for these young people,” said former White House advisor Hollie Russon Gilman on a recent panel at Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, who has written about participatory budgeting. “I joke that they come in for the pizza, but they stay because they’re amazed that they actually have decision-making power.”
Participatory budgeting (or PB) in the US is often aimed at groups that are traditionally marginalised, with youth being just one, Russon Gilman noted. “There have been huge outreach campaigns in low-income communities,” she says. “PB voting has included non-citizens. It is widening the pool of who can vote in the political process.”