Can Democracy Work in Chicago?

A Chicago Alderman experimented with participatory budgeting, where residents decide how some of their tax money will be spent, by allowing 49th Ward residents to determine how to spend $1.3 million in the district. Residents selected 14 projects, including commissioning murals, creating a dog park and community gardens, purchasing solar-powered garbage compactors, and repaving streets. All projects are moving forward. Over 200 mural proposals were received, which the Alderman’s office narrowed down to 24 choices for community members to vote on. 12 will be funded by the city with stipends for the artists.

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