How Communities Use Direct Democracy to Shape City Budgets

“When I went to my first assembly of participatory budgeting, it was the first time in a while, probably ever in my adult life, that I was like ‘this is democracy. This just feels like democracy, and this is the way decisions should be made in the city,'” Hadden explained.

However, the biggest challenge for the process is how to expand it. Hadden cited lack of adequate funding for aldermen and lack of support from the mayor’s office in implementing participatory budgeting city-wide.

Still, she is committed to seeing it grow.

“Participatory budgeting is a great process for bringing more voices to the table and providing a more equitable space for those voices to be heard,” Hadden said.

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