Helsinki residents submitted enormous amount of proposals for participatory budgeting

Uutta Helsinkiä

The City of Helsinki received 1,259 proposals to the platform on how to develop the home district and entire Helsinki.

– This enormous popularity makes me happy. It is great to start making concrete plans together with the city residents when there is such a vast number of good proposals, says Kirsi Verkka, Development Manager for participatory budgeting.

More than 3,000 persons logged on to website between 15 November  and 9 December to submit their idea, comment on the proposals and learn about them. The borough liaisons arranged around 100 events in different neighbourhoods to support the city residents in participating. In hundreds of discussions and OmaStadi game nights, the borough liaisons provided those interested with ways to come up with ideas and plan their own, functional city.

This is the first year the City of Helsinki has reserved €4.4 million from its budget, the use of which the city residents can decide about. The City has been divided into seven major districts and each area has been given funds according to its population. A fifth of the sum, or €880,000, has been reserved for entire Helsinki's joint projects.

Together from ideas to plans

During the next few weeks, the City's services comment and evaluate the proposals with relation to the boundary conditions of participatory budgeting. Each proposal is read and categorised as either one that fulfils the boundary conditions or one that does not. During the spring, the proposals will be made into plans together with the residents, city employees, communities and companies. Plans are crafted in the service and at joint meetings. Several proposals may be combined in a plan. All proposals that fulfil the boundary conditions for participatory budgeting will be included in the plans. The objective is to come up with plans of uniform quality and support the realisation of equality. All plans can be viewed and commented on the service.

– In February, we will arrange OmaStadi construction sites in each major district, to which we invite city residents who have made proposals to make up plans. There is also a separate event for proposals that relate to the entire City, says Verkka.

When the plans are ready and the City's services have made cost estimates for them, they will then advance to the voting. All residents of Helsinki aged 12 or older can vote on the plans. The drafting of the plans and the voting takes place in the service.

Community and ecological thinking popular themes

– The proposals show how the city residents wish to build a city with a community. There were a lot of proposals concerning resident spaces or finding such, and they are aimed at establishing more spaces for meetings and spontaneous activities. There are also many creative and new kinds of proposals and it will be interesting to see what kind of plans we will be able to make out of these together with the residents, tells Kirsi Verkka.