The City of Rybnik uses participatory budgeting to allocate funds to social projects voted on by residents, empowering citizens to shape the direction of their city's development.
PEOPLE VOTE ON SOCIAL PROJECTS
The City of Rybnik, led by Mayor Piotr Kuczera, has been using participatory budgeting to allocate funds to social projects voted on by residents for several years. Approximately 1 million EUR is made available each year for implementing citizens’ project proposals, which are assessed in terms of their financial, legal, and technical feasibility and selected through an online voting system. The goal of the participatory budgeting process is to provide everyone an opportunity to have a say in the direction of the city's development, regardless of their digital skills.
A DIGITAL PLATFORM IMPROVES ENGAGEMENT
In 2022, the online platform was updated to allow residents to both vote and submit projects to be evaluated by municipal officials. The system has since increased voter turnout, with 96% of all voters using the electronic system and 70% voting via mobile devices. The platform is also easy to access, making it straightforward for people of all ages to get involved. Additionally, the opportunity to use digital technologies has improved digital competences among participants, while the online system encourages young people to engage in civic activities that are important for a democratic society.
CITIZENS FEEL EMPOWERED
Participatory budgeting has allowed Rybnik to implement over 360 investments and soft projects so far. The use of this method has also fostered trust in local authorities and a sense of transparency in the decision-making process. Citizens feel empowered to shape the direction of their city's development, giving them a sense of agency. The process is also inclusive, providing the means for those with little experience with digital technologies to participate in the process. Overall, the participatory budgeting system has had a significant impact on the city's development and the level of engagement of its citizens.