n Latin American Report - From the ballot box to the ledger sheet
Why some Latin American cities are asking ordinary citizens to decide how public funds should be spent : IDB news

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



The subject was street lighting. The venue was City Hall. But the decision makers were not the mayor, not the City Council, not even a group of senior municipal officials.

Instead, the 32 "counselors" making the critical decisions on street lighting were delegates sent by neighborhood assemblies to defend local budget priorities. The meeting culminated a year-long process for 16 neighborhood assemblies in Porto Alegre, a city of 1,3 million that is the capital of Brazil's Rio Grande do Sul state. In each case, the assemblies drew up their investment budget priorities and then chose delegates, known as counselors, to convey them to the city administration.

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