Our Hakunila and Our Martsari - participatory budgeting begins in August

Residents in Hakunila and Martinlaakso can soon influence the development of their area in a whole new way, as Vantaa launches participatory budgeting. Participatory budgeting is residents’ channel to decide on how the city’s money will be spent. A sum of €50 000 has been reserved for both Hakunila and Martinlaakso in the city’s budget to be used according to the residents’ suggestions and votes.

Participatory budgeting focuses on increasing the pleasantness of the local environment in city-owned areas, that is, in parks, streets, outdoor recreation areas, as well as on the yards of schools and day-care centers. Money could be spent on, for instance, new benches, exercise equipment or bike racks. The residents know their district best, which is why versatile ideas are expected to develop the areas, says city engineer Henry Westlin.

In the course of the spring, the residents can vote and submit ideas. During the idea-generation period beginning in August, ideas will be collected in electronic format and—if allowed by the coronavirus situation—also on the spot in Hakunila and Martinlaakso. Anybody can submit their ideas either by themselves or as part of a group. The ideas shall be connected with developing the local environment as well as with one of the following themes: pleasantness, sense of community, accessibility, wellbeing, and safety. The idea can be a small investment such as a play tool, or activity such as park exercise. We are hoping to receive generally beneficial ideas that would be a source of joy for many residents in Hakunila and Martinlaakso.

After the idea-generation stage, the city’s experts will study the ideals and decide on those suggestions that will be voted on together with the residents. In the vote all 12-year-olds and older Hakunila and Martinlaakso residents can influence what will be done with the €50 000-allowance in the area. The suggestions that have reaped the most votes and are feasible with the sum allowed will be realized in 2021.

Participatory budgeting as an influencing option is fairly new, and it combines the perspectives of both the economy and democracy. Vantaa has tested participatory budgeting already before, for example, in the Our Korso project in early 2019. The current participatory budgeting is part of Vantaa’s positive special treatment program.

Published: 5.6.2020 
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