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  • Participatory Budgeting in Seoul Changes People’s Lives

    SMG 2946
  • The participatory budgeting system in Seoul is making significant progress. First implemented in Seoul in 2012, participatory budgeting is a system that allows the Participatory Budget Council of selected citizens to prioritize and decide on public spending projects that have been freely proposed by the citizens.

    The 2013 Participatory Budget Council comprises a total of 250 members. The council reviewed and selected 125 projects, worth a total of KRW 50 billion, and 122 of them have already been completed or will be completed in the first half of 2014.

    The project to “Improve the facilities for people with disabilities at Changdong Culture and Sports Center” was voted as the first among the 2013 Participatory Budget projects, receiving 108 of the 190 votes from the Participatory Budget Council. A total of KRW 9.5 million was spent to install an accessible restroom, handrails in the hallway, elevators, and a separate counter at the information desk for people with disabilities. The project was completed in November 2013.

    【2013 Ranking of Participatory Budget Projects (1-3)】

    Ranking

    Department

    Project

    Location

    Expenses

    (millions of KRW)

    Votes

    1

    Culture & Sports Expand the facilities for people with disabilities at Changdong Culture and Sports Center

    Dobong-gu

    9.5

    108

    2

    Women & Childcare Propose local community projects to stop bullying and school violence

    Geumcheon-gu

    18.5

    106

    3

    Health & Welfare Install gas safety valves in homes of the low-income elderly living alone

    Dongdaemun-gu

    11

    101

    3

    Economy & Industry Operate a community restaurant that makes bean sprout dishes with bean sprouts grown in senior citizen centers

    Eunpyeong-gu

    23

    101

    3

    Environment & Parks Install restrooms at the entrances of Bukhansan Park

    Seodaemun-gu

    30

    101

     

    Examples of 2013 Participatory Budget Projects

    1_0421capital_news_participatory
    Accessible facilities at the Changdong Culture and Sports Center expanded and improved

    2_0421capital_news_participatory
    Restrooms installed at Bukhansan (Mountain) Park

    3_0421capital_news_participatory
    Sloped sidewalk near Gilwon Elementary School improved by installing wooden steps, using eco-friendly materials (Before and after)

    4_0421capital_news_participatory
    Exercise equipment installed and mural painted in Seongsu-dong Saemteo Village (Before and after)

    The 2014 Participatory Budgeting Council consists of 57 second-term members and 143 new members selected through a drawing of lots. For this year’s council, 1,138 applications were received for 143 positions, a competition ratio of 8 to 1. The oldest member of the council is a 71-year-old man, and the youngest is a 9-year-old girl (in third grade).

    In addition, the Citizens Participation Committee, comprised of 2,500 appointed citizens, will be established in 2014. Along with the members of the council, the members of the committee will participate and vote in the general meeting to decide on public spending projects on July 25 and 26.

    The City of Seoul is accepting applications for 2015 Participatory Budget projects until May 9. There are no restrictions on the project proposals, but the total expenses for a project must be under KRW 1 billion. For more information, visit yesan.seoul.go.kr.

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