How Shareabouts supports Participatory Budgeting in NYC

Shareabouts enables communities to come together and share ideas about the places they know. Participatory budgeting is an empowering process that taps community knowledge to identify and fund projects to make neighborhoods stronger.

This fall, NYC residents in 23 districts can use Shareabouts to propose projects, via ideas.pbnyc.org. Idea gathering also happens at neighborhood assemblies, with lots of vital face to face engagement that happens alongside idea collection on the map.

Map showing an idea submitted in NYC

Suggestions for capital projects added via the map can be viewed and commented on. The list view lets you search and sort ideas, so you can see what your neighbors are saying. Based on time spent watching users at work, we’ve tuned the map interface to make it simple to get involved – you can enter an address to place your idea, or drag the map pin around to the exact spot. No log in required. And thanks to Shareabouts’ responsive design, the map works great on screens of all sizes.

Later in the process, once a shortlist of ideas have been formed for each district, the maps will show what’s on the ballot. And eventually, the winners. You can explore previous winners on the map (like this project, $400,000 to put accessible bathrooms into the Covello Senior Center).

PBNYC List view

As well as providing an attractive interface for submitting and browsing ideas, we’re working to give the volunteer delegates and city council staffers the tools they need to manage input as it comes in. Each morning, a roundup email goes out with ideas in each district.

PB roundup email

The management view provides tools to review and work with the ideas, and download them for further analysis.

Shareabouts manager

We’ve also heard other challenges in the process that we hope Shareabouts can address, like making it easier for ideas from workshops to be entered in a standardized format; better followup with participants who used the map; and ways to explore proposals alongside other relevant info, like demographics and locations of schools. These ideas are described in our roadmap, which lays out work we’ve identified to make this open source tool more useful for community empowerment.

If you want to talk more about Participatory Budgeting, come to the PB Conference in Oakland and Vallejo, September 25-27, 2014!