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25 Years of Participatory Budgeting: Analyzing the Resilience of a Traveling Innovation

Participatory Budgeting (PB) has become a worldwide democratic process in which community members directly decide how to allocate public funds. This process, conceived as a “ideoscape” (i.e., a model that travels around the world and becomes real only through local experiments) continuously changes as it is implemented locally. Despite these variations and the different meanings ascribed to it in different continents and cities, PB continues to be recognizable among other participatory innovations that dialogue with it. Taking advantage of the recently published “World Report on Participatory Budgeting” (2013), the talk will try to understand the principles that guarantee the resilience, the sustainability, and the “scaling up” of this governance innovation in different corners of the planet, 25 years after the first experiments in Latin America.

Giovanni Allegretti is an architect and senior researcher at the Centre of Social Studies, Faculty of Economics, Coimbra University (Portugal) where he teaches on "Democracy in the XXI Centrury" and coordinates the PEOPLES’ Observatory on Participation, Innovation and Local Powers. His doctoral degree is from the University of Florence, Italy. As a practitioner, he has been a consultant of PB experiments in several countries, especially in Sweden (where he supports the Association of Local and Regional Authorities) and in Mozambique (where he works for the National Plan of Diffusion of PB funded by the World Bank). He has published extensively on participatory planning and budgeting. In March 2014, he was appointed by the Italian Parliament as a co-chair of the Independent Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP) of the Tuscany Region, for the mandate 2014-2019.