Helsinki Youth Budget – Participatory Budgeting with Youth

© Helsinki

The long-running Helsinki Youth Budget engages thousands of young people across the city every year, who propose, negotiate, and vote on ideas for activities and services aimed at 12-17 year-old residents.


With the Youth Budget, Helsinki tackles the issue of youth participation in municipal co-planning and decision making. In 2023 the Youth Budget will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. Over the years, the process has scaled up significantly, but the main goal has remained the same: creating low-threshold, easy, and solution-oriented, meaningful interaction with youth and the city. More than 10,000 young people participate in the various stages of the Youth Budget every year, and all 12-17 year-old Helsinki residents are welcome to participate in planning, voting, and negotiating.


The Youth Budget is an annual process in which young people in Helsinki come up with ideas and vote and negotiate on what kinds of activities and services young people need and how the City Youth Services’ budget is to be spent. In order to give everyone the opportunity to participate, ideas are collected and refined throughout the city in several stages. The Youth Budget is knowledge-based – the proposals are developed based on needs and phenomena rising from the data gathered from young people every year at the beginning of the budgeting cycle. The survey is done mainly during the school day, with action days built around it in some areas. We have digitalised both the gathering and analysing of the data: we use AI text analysis to make sense of the rich, open-ended data.


Since the beginning, in 2013, the main goal of the Youth Budget has been to offer possibilities to participate for as many young people, as possible. We have gone from youth voting at one of the local youth centres with made-up 100 Euro notes, to reaching more than 10,000 young citizens annually via all of our youth centres and close to all junior high schools in the city. Each year, 50-80 projects formulated in the Youth Budget process are executed. Unlike many other participatory budgets, the participants also take part in implementing the chosen projects over the next year, with the support of local youth workers. For example, in 2022, there are 63 ongoing projects that received funding the previous year. Follow-up takes place on our website, which is built on the Decidim platform.

Project owner
Katri Kairimo
Area Manager, Youth Services / Division of Culture and Leisure, City of Helsinki
Project team
Johanna Laukkanen
Interaction Specialist, Division of Culture and Leisure, City of Helsinki
Project team
Eveliina Laine
Participation Coordinator, Youth Services / Division of Culture and Leisure, City of Helsinki