Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process implemented in the 1990s where residents of certain regions can influence how their governments' annual budgets are allocated. After the collapse of its authoritarian regime in the mid 1980s, Brazilians implemented reforms to bolster their economic and political futures through participatory methods. These new democratic practices drastically improved the lives and social infrastructure of its participants.
As the first ward-based participatory budgeting experiment in the United States, the Participatory Budgeting Initiative in Chicago's 49th Ward began in November of 2009 with the goal of directly allocating a portion of the Alderman’s capital budget for the 49th Ward by residents. Citizens gathered to discuss, deliberate, and vote into implementation projects totaling $1.3 million dollars. Forming six themed committees of 16-20 residents each, the participants created 36 proposals to better the Ward’s infrastructure.
Berlin-Lichtenberg is a borough in Eastern Berlin, comprising of 251,000 residents and 13 districts. In 2005, under Mayor Christina Emmrich, a new participatory budgeting exercise was launched that continues to this day. It involves regular online and face-to-face exercises in which citizens can make and evaluate suggestions for how to spend the borough’s €31 million discretionary budget. Yearly reports are made on which suggested local projects have been accepted or rejected and reasons for the decision taken by the council.