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Budapest’s participatory budget greenlights 15 projects worth HUF 1 billion

Budapest’s participatory budget greenlights 15 projects worth HUF 1 billion

Winning proposals include renovating empty municipal flats and renting them to homeless people, setting up a leisure and cultural centre for autistic people, cultivating small forests, and building new fountains and public toilets

The Budapest metropolitan council will implement 15 projects worth a total of one billion forints (EUR 2.9 m) under its participatory budgeting scheme. The winning proposals were announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

Important experiment in direct democracy

Budapest’s first participatory budget, described by Mayor Gergely Karácsony as an “important experiment in direct democracy” was launched in October 2020. Of the nearly 700 submitted ideas, 53 were put to the vote, and 15 will be implemented on the basis of 13,344 votes received by 31 July.  

The ideas competed in three categories according to their purpose and theme:  

  • Green Budapest: ideas promoting the expansion and development of the green spaces of the capital, adaptation to climate change, and environmental sustainability (a total of HUF 250 million allocated for developments). The winning proposal in this category, called “Urban Forests”, envisages the cultivation of small forests, mainly on unused wooded areas in Pest.
  • Caring Budapest: ideas promoting social solidarity or community development (a total of HUF 250 million). The majority of votes went to “Renovation and rental of empty flats for the homeless”. The idea aims to revamp municipally-owned flats with the help of non-governmental organisations by involving the stakeholders and renting them out to homeless people. 
  • The whole of Budapest: ideas affecting the whole capital or the population of at least 3 districts (a total of HUF 500 million). The idea to create Hungary’s first Adult Autistic Leisure and Cultural Centre came on top. In the proposed institution, autistic young people can find a lifelong recreational environment and support.  

Seeds of a new political culture 

The Mayor's Office will start preparing the implementation of the 15 winning projects in the autumn.    

During the press conference, Deputy Mayor Gábor Kerpel-Fronius said that the participants in the brainstorming and voting procedures can be proud of themselves, especially in this pandemic period. He emphasised that via the participatory budget, the seeds of a new political culture have been sawn, sending a clear message to all Budapest residents that their opinions, proposals and criticism will no longer leave the city leaders indifferent.

No differentiation between opposition and pro-government districts

The second cycle of the participation budget will begin on 1 October, Kerpel-Fronius announced, adding that he hoped for even greater resident involvement in planning the future of the city. Earlier, the deputy mayor had assured that, in preparing the participation budget, no differentiation has been made between opposition and pro-government districts of the capital.

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