Mikko Rask, Titiana Ertiö, Pekka Tuominen & Veronica Ahonen
Final evaluation of the City of Helsinki’s participatory budgeting
Participatory budgeting is a democratic innovation for urban development, whereby citizens propose projects and vote on their implementation. Between 2018–2020, the City of Helsinki piloted a participatory budgeting process known as OmaStadi, with an allocated budget of EUR 4.4 million. This operational model emphasises direct democracy and online democracy as well as co-creation.
We evaluated the OmaStadi project by analysing participant voting data and responses to feedback surveys. We conducted participant observation in events organised throughout the project and interviewed political decision-makers, association and NGO actors as well as City experts. We used the Co-Creation Radar as our evaluation method as it reflects the myriad dimensions of societal values through its twelve evaluation criteria.
Our overall evaluation of the OmaStadi pilot is cautiously positive. Many lessons have already been learned for the second round. However, there is also plenty of room for improvement and development should continue based on the accrued experiences.