2018 National Planning Conference

Big Infrastructure Money in Participatory Budgeting

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198227

Location: 2001

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  • Understand how the design of participatory budgeting (PB) engages people who are historically underrepresented in planning processes, including youth, immigrants, and people of color.
  • Apply lessons from participatory budgeting case studies, especially at large scale, to enhance and improve upon hearings, visioning sessions, online surveys, and other common civic engagement methods.
  • Explain to local government leaders and stakeholders how participatory budgeting can result in more effective, equitable and creative community infrastructure decisions.


Diverse constituents expect and deserve more equitable, inclusive ways to participate in infrastructure planning. Coast to coast, many leaders are using an innovative tool: participatory budgeting (PB). PB is a democratic process that gives ordinary people direct control over a portion of a public budget. It engages residents in co-learning to find solutions together, and climb up the “ladder of citizen participation” beyond tokenistic civic engagement practices. PB is especially effective among historically underrepresented populations including youth, people of color, and immigrants. In the past year, PB in the US has experienced various implementation scaling opportunities. The California Department of Transportation now urges regional authorities to include PB in planning grants, to set priorities for billions of dollars. And New York City voters approved a referendum to expand PBNYC, already the largest PB process in North America, to a citywide process to support hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Join an interactive session with Bay area and national PB leaders, with a focus on applications for transportation and other major infrastructure systems. Drawing on the experience of more than 3,000 governments globally that have implemented PB, we’ll map out opportunities in your community, including local, state, and federal funding streams.


Session Speakers

Maulin Mehta, AICP
Regional Plan Association
Forest Hills, NY

Jennifer So Godzeno, AICP
Participatory Budgeting Project
Brooklyn, NY, NY

Eric R. Howell
Eastern Carolina Council
New Bern, NC

Ginevra Browne
Participatory Budgeting Project
Los Angeles, CA

Shari Davis
Participatory Budgeting Project
Oakland, CA