Helsinki will launch participatory budgeting with OmaStadi (“my city”) workshops.

Participatory budgeting launched with workshops

Helsinki will launch participatory budgeting with OmaStadi (“my city”) workshops and an OmaStadi gala held at Gloria Cultural Arena on 25 October. Everybody is welcome to join and to brainstorm for the uses of the 4.4 million euros allocated in Helsinki to participatory budgeting. 

Open workshops are held in many city districts in October–November. Information on 20 workshops is available online at OmaStadi.hel.fi. Proposals for participatory budgeting projects can be posted at the site starting on a date in November to be announced later. The ideas will be worked on with citizens into a plan, which will be voted on in the spring. 

The City of Helsinki increases opportunities for direct democracy by allocating 4.4 million euros from the City budget to projects defined by Helsinki residents – every year. Helsinki is the first Finnish municipality that adopts participatory budgeting on such a large scale. 

Proposals can be posted by everybody regardless of their age and home community. Everybody aged 12 and older (turning 12 during the calendar year) can vote. The total sum available for participatory budgeting is divided among the seven major districts of Helsinki by population's 

Each major district has its own borough liaison, who promotes resident initiatives and helps local networks to find each other. You can meet your borough liaison at your local workshop, and you can meet the liaison at the local city library at times listed at hel.fi/stadiluotsit (page in Finnish).

Pirjo Tulikukka says that participatory budgeting is a fine, historic step from Helsinki to develop participation and local democracy. She is a citizen activist and executive director of Helka, the umbrella organization for Helsinki neighbourhood societies. 

“I believe that when citizens are offered an opportunity to help decide on the uses of 4.4 million, many such people will join who haven’t shown much interest in developing their neighbourhoods or the city at large,” Tulikukka says. 

Registration to opening gala now open

The opening gala of participatory budgeting will be held at Gloria Cultural Arena on 25 October. The City of Helsinki invites all residents to join. The audience will be able to brainstorm for participatory budgeting proposals at the OmaStadi ideas factory. The gala will be hosted by Lotta Backlund. The audience can enjoy performances by Improvisation Theatre Stella Polaris and the city ensemble Stadin juhlaorkesteri conducted by Jan Noponen.  

The opening gala is open to all, but registration is required by 22 October at bit.ly/osbujuhla. Coffee is served from 17:00 onwards. The programme starts at 17:30 and ends at 19:00. The address is Pieni Roobertinkatu 12–14. 

What would make the city more functional?

How could my neighbourhood become more appealing or safe? Would the area need a new sports site or better places for young people? Or should we hire a worker for one year to bring art to elderly centres? These are some of the questions to be answered in November.

“The citizens of Helsinki are highly creative when they are given the opportunity,” Tulikukka says. “An important and critical point in the process is co-creation of ideas. I have been able to test the participatory budgeting game developed to aid the process. The game seemed to be a good way to find a common vision and to promote the co-creation of ideas.” 

To find OmaStadi workshops, go to: https://omastadi.hel.fi/assemblies/tapahtumat?locale=en 

Join the brainstorming for ideas and see how your ideas grow into impactful actions for the good of your city.

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