Improving school environments leads participatory budgeting in Barcelona

After the stoppage caused by the pandemic, the Barcelona City Council has resumed the process of its participatory budgets for which the City Council will allocate 30 million euros to a series of projects proposed by citizens through the Decidim.Barcelona platform. The selection faces its final vote: 204 initiatives on which the people of Barcelona will be able to comment from June 10 to 20. The improvement of school environments, as well as various actions in educational centers, clearly lead the list of proposals submitted by citizens with a total of 50 projects.

“There was a first technical screening, not a political one. Of the 2,000 initial proposals, 822 were selected, those that were viable, possible to carry out and that were of municipal competence ”, explained yesterday the Councilor for Citizen Rights and Participation, Marc Serra. Of these, more than 800 have gone to the final the projects with the most support in each district, at a rate of about twenty for each.

Other demands

The list also includes street reforms and green space initiatives.

Apart from the leadership of petitions to carry out different improvements in different school environments of the city, a claim that has a strong mobilization from the Associació de Famílies d’Alumnes (AFA), highlights the demand for pacifications or street remodeling (36 projects) ; proposals that have to do with green spaces and urban gardens (24); initiatives related to mobility and the cycling network (21), and the creation of new children’s play areas or their reform (14). Although each district has its own peculiarity and, in this sense, historical claims appear in the list of projects: new facilities, urbanization of certain streets, definitions of uses, equipment improvements …

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Marc Serra explained that the pandemic, after delaying the entire process, has made the initiative of participatory projects focus only on the last two years of this mandate. “The bulk of the actions will take place in 2022 and 2023,” he announced. The budget line is also reduced and it goes from the 75 million euros originally planned to 30 million. “It is due to the pandemic since they have had to carry out budgetary adjustments,” said the mayor, who in any case assured that the projects that obtain more than remarkable support but that do not turn out to be winners will not fall on a deaf ear. That is, the municipal government will take note and if it cannot be through participatory budgets, other ways of obtaining financing will be sought so that they can be carried out.

Municipal commitment

The finalist projects that do not win will become new duties for the local government

How many projects will be developed through participatory budgeting? The number will depend on those who are chosen. Not all involve the same investment. Each district has an assigned budget. Fifteen million euros have been distributed equally and another 15 according to demographic and socioeconomic criteria (family income, net density, life expectancy, surface …) Each citizen will be able to choose projects based on that budget: they will be able to select as many options of your district as you deem appropriate to spend that money that ranges from the 2 million that Les Corts has reserved (followed by Sarrià-Sant Gervasi with 2.2 million) to the 3.6 million budgets available to Sants-Montjuïc, Nou Barris and Sant Martí. In order to publicize the different projects, face-to-face points will be established in each district in order to publicize them.

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According to municipal sources, the number of people registered in the Decidim.Barcelona municipal participation platform has increased by about 44,000 since this process began to now reach 80,500 registrations in total.

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