Reading and Video: What is e-participatory budgeting
E-participatory Budgeting is a democratic process through which citizens decide how to spend a part of the public budget of their local communities by using digital technology. The movement started in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil 1989, and today more than 1,500 cities around the world are implementing some type of participatory budget, including New York, Mexico City, Paris and Reykjavik . Through these processes, citizens can propose and vote on those projects that matter the most to them such as the improvements in schools, public housing, parks, etc. And thanks to the use of technology, this can be done in a transparent and collaborative way.
Watch a short introduction to participatory budget in this video by the GovLab (1:45 minutes):
Notably, it is important both to decide to begin participatory budgeting processes and to sustain them. While at the beginning an e-participatory budgeting process can be seen as a great experiment for citizens' representation, over time it may face many of the same problems found in regular budgeting such as limited funds and multiple projects on which to spend them.
A typical participatory budget process. Source: https://www.participatorybudgeting.org
E-participatory budgeting is getting popular worldwide: 101 cities in 23 countries have included some sort of digitally-empowered participatory budgeting work in their plans. Even if this is still a small number compared to the total amount of general participatory budgeting initiatives, e-participation has clearly gained ground within public spending processes. Specifically, a blended approach (mixing online and face-to-face collaboration) is used by 81,8% of cities that implement participatory budgeting, while only 14.1% of cities have migrated to fully e-participatory budgeting.
 Peabody, L. (2019). New Data-Driven Map Shows Spread of Participation in Democracy. https://www.participatorybudgeting.org/pb-map/