Opening up budget requests to community input

CB6 mapCommunity Board 6 in Brooklyn is putting their capital expenditure budget online, in an interactive Shareabouts map built by OpenPlans.

CB6 District Manager Craig Hammerman wants to make the complex budget process more inclusive of residents’ voices, and more transparent as suggestions are made, considered, and acted on.

Residents of CB6 can add requests in three categories: Building/Facility; Roadway/Streetscape; and Park/Open Space. They can also track past years’ requests, to see which of the Community Board’s requests to the city have been approved, are under consideration, or have been rejected.

As Mia Brezin, Planning Fellow at CB6 explains:

So many people that I’ve told about the map have no idea that community boards request funding from the city, and that they can play an important role in determining what projects are requested. If you ask anyone what they want to improve in their neighborhood they have a million ideas, but most people don’t know who to talk to, and even if they do they frequently don’t have time to attend a community meeting or reach out to their elected representative. Giving people an easy to use, online way to share their ideas, both with their neighbors and with the community board, will really help to open up and demystify the budget process.  This map will allow people to get their ideas out there, and hopefully this will make the budget process more transparent and more democratic.

Now that the site has officially launched, I am excited to gather more data and see trends in the types of projects and locations where people are requesting improvements. I’m also interested to see how people use the social media functions and what role that plays in sharing and supporting different projects.

If live or work in Brooklyn’s Community Board District 6, add your suggestions and comments to the map. You can read more about the capital expenditure budget process here.