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District 39

Shahana Hanif

Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is grassroots democracy in action. Participatory Budgeting was first implemented in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 by the socialist Workers’ Party known as Partido dos Trabalhadores. The political party sought to bring its decentralized and democratic party into government and thus PB was born. Rather than budget details being decided in secret behind closed doors, PB allows everyday people to engage with their government and decide how their public dollars are spent. In New York City, our city government sets aside a portion of the budget that individuals Council Members can decide to use for PB. Every day people in those districts can submit ideas for projects they’d like to see, vote on their favorites, and ensure their priorities get funded by their public dollars. Cities around the world (from Barcelona to Seoul) engage in this form of direct democracy and budget justice, where government and people work together to allocate resources to community needs. 

PB started in NYC right here in the 39th District as one of the first neighborhoods in the United States to engage in this form of direct democracy. Participatory Budgeting is also personal for Council Member Shahana Hanif, who led PB while working as the Director of Organizing and Community Engagement for the 39th. Council Members Hanif knows that PB is an important pathway to leadership for young people, and communities historically excluded from governing.

How To Get Involved

Participatory Budgeting Cycle 12 is underway! This year, our focus of PB is Climate Justice, so we’re focusing on developing ideas on how to address local climate problems right here in District 39. You can attend one of our various Neighborhood Assemblies to help brainstorm ideas and solutions to the most pressing climate issues in our community. Please RSVP to join here. You can also submit an idea online on the PB map here.

  • Park Slope Library: Saturday, Sept 24th, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Carroll Gardens Library: Tuesday, October 11th 6:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Kensington/Windsor Terrace Library: Wednesday, October 12th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Zoom: Monday, October 17th, 7:00 – 8:30 pm 

We’re also looking for dedicated volunteers to help set up events, facilitate small group discussions, and get out the vote. Sign up here to volunteer for Participatory Budgeting!

Can’t attend any events? You can also submit an idea online until 10/17 here.

Past Projects Examples

Here are some examples of past projects that you helped get funded! 

1: Storytelling garden with micro-amphitheater at the Park Slope Library 

2: Self-Defense Classes for young Muslim women and allies 

3: New “Lake Mess Monster”, an aquatic weed harvester for Prospect Park!