The local voice of the major districts in Helsinki was clear during the first period in the OmaStadi service and the OmaStadi Raksa workshops. The first period of participatory budgeting consisted of 4,604 participants, 839 proposals approved and 365 plans drafted.
The fine-tuning phase of the participatory budgeting plans ended on 8 April. During spring, the City of Helsinki's experts evaluate the implementation of the plans. From 15 April to 14 June, the experts draft cost estimates for the plans that are active in the OmaStadi service.
The people of Helsinki and the City’s experts worked together in the beginning of the year to develop the plans at local OmaStadi Raksa workshops and in the OmaStadi service on the Internet. The borough liaisons arranged several events and meetings, where support was offered in order to make the plans realisable.
“Employing the methods of participatory budgeting has created a new kind of culture of doing together in Helsinki, which makes use of the citizens’ own know-how. The professional skills of the City's experts complements the process as well. The best moments were the ones during which the citizens and the experts were excitedly considering the proposals together. This way, the proposals have surely become plans that are significant to the citizens”, says Kirsi Verkka, Development Manager of Participation and Citizen Information at the Helsinki City Executive Office.
Participatory budgeting is a long-term process
In the OmaStadi service, it was possible to submit own proposals for improving the residential satisfaction until the beginning of December. The people of Helsinki submitted 1,273 proposals before the deadline. Popular themes were community centres, cultural projects, sports facilities and environmental matters. In February, there were local OmaStadi Raksa workshops arranged in all major districts in Helsinki, as well as one joint workshop for the entire City.
The plans will be put up for vote for the people of Helsinki during the upcoming autumn. After the voting, the most successful plans will be realised by the City of Helsinki during 2020.
Every year Helsinki allocates € 4.4 million of its budget, and the citizens can participate in deciding how this money will be spent. Each major district of Helsinki has been assigned its own budget, and the plans can be realised according to them. The funds have been distributed in relation to the populations of the major districts.