The case of low-income neighbourhoods in Paris.
By Estela Brahimllari
Released under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) in the series Nuove Geografie. Strumenti di lavoro
The book presents the potential of participatory budgeting (PB) as a tool for transforming social, political, and territorial priorities and overall, to channel resources towards the disadvantaged social groups. Such potential constitutes one of the key elements of its success and broad diffusion worldwide. However, several studies suggest that European PBs do not have the same potential as the first Brazilian experiences when it comes to social inclusion or transforming of priorities.
In 2014, the Municipality of Paris launched its first PB experience with an ambitious overall budget of about 500 million euros for the period between 2014-2019; one of the most important PB budgets in the world. As the process has continuously evolved through the years, a decision was made in 2016 to reserve a third of the overall annual budget to lowincome neighbourhoods with the expressed aim to include marginalized groups in the process and use PB as a tool for democratic redistribution.
On this basis, the study presented on this book analyses the potential of the Paris PB to address social inequalities and explore how the inherent quality of PB to be a transformational tool is materialized in the specific Parisian context.
Through a conceptual framework which considers social inequalities in their multidimensionality, the Paris PB has been analysed in terms of actual achievements and means to achieve in the future, using qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews, quantitative data available in various official sources and personal observations of the author. The findings show several contradictory and incoherent elements inside the design and implementation of the process. Moreover, the ongoing gentrification process appears to be a powerful influencing factor upon the PB outcomes. Using theoretical insights and lessons learned from successful PB practices around the world, the author elaborates a series of recommendations regarding the evolution of the Parisian PB process.
About the Author/Volume editor: Estela Brahimllari
She is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree graduate in Sustainable Territorial Development (STeDe) with a previous background in Architecture. Her professional interests include sustainable urban development mechanisms and the study of socio-economic dynamics shaping the built environment.
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