The annual budget of the Taipei City Government is more than NTD 160 billion (£3.8b). City residents may not have a good understanding of how large this number is or how this budget is used. Providing such an understanding is key to promoting civic participation reports the About Taipai website.
In Taipai they have been exploring the use of info-graphics, but have gone further than just drawing pictures. Taipei City Government has collaborated with civic groups to turn these numbers into images and has even used nutritional lunches, braised pork with rice and pearl milk tea as “units” that allows the size of the budget to be easily understood.
In addition, a message board has been set up with “delete” and “add” buttons for city residents to express their opinions regarding the city government’s budget.
In other consultative processes opinions from the public were collected and architectural designers and district residents were invited to participate in discussions. Public opinion served as a reference for the renovation of the public assembly hall, as well as for activity and event planning. This was described as the first time that the Taipei City Government had implemented participatory budgeting.
While its not clear that Taipai’s PB would match commonly accepted descriptions of the process as there is no indication the voice of the ordinary citizen directed public spending, it shows how PB is spreading around the world.
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