Participatory Budgeting (or PB) is a new and different way to make decisions about publicly funded projects in New York City neighborhoods. It gives community members real decision-making power over parts of public budgets.

In 2011, four City Council Members agreed to use a participatory budgeting process to let their constituents decide how to spend parts of each district’s public budget, totalling almost $6 million. Over forty community organizations and advocacy groups, led by Community Voices Heard and the Participatory Budgeting Project, have come together to make sure the process is a truly democratic one.

CUP was asked to create accessible outreach and educational materials which would help guarantee that a broad cross-section of people would take part in this process. Working with Glen Cummings of MTWTF, we produced a brochure and flyers in English, Spanish, Polish, Russian, and Bangla. With Lacey Tauber of the Pratt Institute, we produced neighborhood maps to be used during community meetings. Next up, ballots for Spring 2012 voting.

Resources & Links

PBNYC is the home of New York City’s first participatory budgeting effort.

The Participatory Budgeting Project works on PB initiatives throughout North America.

Community Voices Heard is a member organization of low-income people with experience on welfare, building power in New York City and State to improve the lives of our families and communities.

The four City Council Members taking part in the initiative this year are:
Brad Lander (District 39)
Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8)
Jumaane Williams (District 45)
Eric Ulrich (District 32)

Funding Support

CUP’s work on Participatory Budgeting NYC is made possible in part by the North Star Fund and the Arts & Democracy Project.


  • CUP
  • Project Lead
  • Christine Gaspar
  • Project Support
  • Sam Holleran
  • Designer
  • Glen Cummings
  • Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee Members
  • CVH
  • Sondra Youdelman, Vincent Villano
  • Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Josh Lerner, Donata Secondo
  • Pratt Institute
  • Lacey Tauber
  • Arts & Democracy Project
  • Caron Atlas
  • Council Member Staff
  • Michael Freedman-Schnapp, Alex Moore, Rachel Goodman, Joseph Taranto, Bart Haggerty, Ede Fox


Direct Democracy Comes to Harlem
  • Bill Moyers
  • April 16, 2012

Ordinary citizens young and old were given the unusual power to decide how millions of their city districts’ budgets were spent.