The City of Paris has been running the largest scale Participatory Budgeting process in Europe.
As part of an international study visit to Paris in December 2016 by representatives of Glasgow and Fife Community Planning Partnerships, enabled by What Works Scotland, a report by “Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme”(APUR) into the types of projects proposed in 2015 has recently been translated into English.
The report represents the rich tapestry of concerns of Parisian residents, and the growth in participation over time.
Launched in 2014, Paris implements a successful method of citizen participation. Ideas are developed and submitted on an Internet platform by residents or groups of residents. In 2015, Parisians submitted over 5,000 projects. In 2014, the first year of its operation, over 40,000 Parisians chose 9 winning projects at a cost of 17,7 million €.
In 2015, this increased to nearly 67,000 participants. They selected 8 projects for Paris as a whole, and 180 projects for arondissements (city districts). The Paris projects and the arondissements in 2015 represent an allocated budget of around 67 million Euro. Equivalent to about £57m at January 2017 rates.
To submit a project, citizens had to propose a title for their project, indicate its location (or if for the whole of Paris), the potential cost, and its benefits, and if anything similar was already happening in their areas. These project ideas were then checked and reviewed before a final shortlist of over 1000 proposals was put forward for public vote.
As interesting as the number is the type of projects being proposed and the wide spread that was achieved. More than half of the 5,114 projects submitted concerned three categories of projects: quality of life, environment and transport, and mobility. Also represented were many others, relating to play, sport, culture, the digital economy and social care.
The analysis of the projects shows that they are spread over the entire territory of Paris, with a high concentration of projects in the areas of central Paris and fewer projects in affluent neighbourhoods of West Paris.
Overall the ideas provide a huge amount of information about what mattered to Parisians, and that information could be used both inside and outside the PB process. Potentially affecting more than the 5% of the capital budget directly allocated to PB.
The main message? The willingness of citizens to reinvest in public space to make it more welcoming and green, and thereby allow shared use of public space.
- You can download a copy of the translated report from this website
- Find the original version in French on APUR’s website
- Go the website of the Paris PB
- Download the latest progress report on PB in Paris (PDF presentation)
We are grateful to the international Facebook group for PB where we sourced this information.