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.
The present work is the outcome of an essay prepared for "Disclosure Policies and Innovations in Governance", a core course held by Professor Elena Fagotto at the Second Level Master in International Public Affairs organized by the School of Government of LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome, Italy, academic year 2010/2011.
The community of Bethany conducted concept and comprehensive community planning for three reasons: 1. To meet various applicable state, regional, county and community planning objectives. 2. To identify necessary urban infrastructure requirements, and 3. To ensure that provisions for such infrastructure to serve the greater North Bethany area are fully in place before development begins. Public involvement has been a fundamental part of the planning process to facilitate an exchange of information and build awareness.