We feel fortunate to have facilitated the implementation of a remarkable Participatory Budgeting effort with the young people of Vienna. Every young resident of the Austrian metropolis, from ages 5 to 20, will have the opportunity to contribute ideas and steer the selection process for the spending of 1 million euros of real money to improve their city.
The younger cohort, from ages 5 to 13, will engage with the initiative through classroom interactions led by an instructor with the aid of a physical card game. The older youth, from 14 to 20, will be able to engage on our platform directly, to contribute specific ideas, and vote for or against various suggestions for the use of the money.
The advantages of exposing young people to these sorts of engagement, participation and budgetary oversight experiences should seem self-evident. If democracy is to survive and evolve in the 21st Century, these sorts of projects must form the bedrock of their understanding of how responsive and nimble governance can change their lives for the better.