Thursday, January 8, 2009

London Parks PB "Bad Start"?

Tiago Peixoto gives a thumbs mostly down to London's "Vote for Your Park," a participatory budgeting project to allocate ten grants of up to £400K. (The Wandle Valley with St. Helier open spaces, looks like a worthy project.) On the bad side, says Peixoto (a fellow doctoral student in Italy!), the site has no security and no means for discussion. On security, I note the site asks for first and last name, a description of where participants are voting from (home, friend's home, school, Internet cafĂ©, etc.) and post code, although there the instructions say that visitors to London may enter the post code of the place where they are staying. It thus appears that the system not only does not block votes from non-residents but invites them. Interesting. The Greater London Authority does say it will allow one vote per person and disregard apparently inappropriate votes.

To the good, Peixoto says the local authorities have committed to base funding decisions on the results of the publci input. Peixoto also says that "a bad start" to participatory budgeting "is better than no start at all." London's fault is in design and execution, not in philosophy. Peixoto says working to change design is much easier than working to change philosophy.



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