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Participative Budgeting as a urban culture of dialogue

The Porto Alegre's Participative Budgeting is an interesting "best practice" that received many attention in Europe and all over the world.
Planum presents some Giovanni Allegretti articles: Allegretti analysed the Porto Alegre projects from close up and for a long time. He describes the participative processes at the different levels (neighbourhoods' level, city's level, regional level), their problems and results, and made his first considerations about the PortoAlegre experience and its possible effects on the European context. The articles are available in English, French, and Italian; they are completed by an images' selection (on the left) and a very rich links' section.

Capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre - 1.3 million inhabitants in the heart of the Economic Community of Mercosul - today is the symbol of a strong network of 'reformistic and educational' cities: a model experiment that has succeeded in renewing the relationship between citizens and institutions, and is universally admired by very different perspectives of interpretation. Thus, today, it is not only a 'best practice' of the UN in the sector of city management, or the ideal see chosen by the World Bank for the 1999 summit meeting on Participatory Democracy; but it has become the symbol chosen by the so-called 'Seattle People' to signal the passage from the moment of protest to that of proposals for 'a possible new world'.
Since the elections in 1989, in fact, Porto Alegre has had its budget directly managed by its citizens, by means of a complex mechanism of general assemblies in which more than 40,000 people participate. The local democratisation process has led to an inversion in priorities in all the sectorial municipal policies, rebuilt with actually participatory criteria starting from their role as potential instruments for bringing about a re-equilibrium in the city's social inequalities. Passing through the territories of everyday occurrences, the method has succeeded in bringing discussion away from local egoisms and towards a construction of strategic objectives and shared viewpoints for the city as a whole.

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