Utopian, dystopian and realist perspectives on the models of participatory budgeting

Participatory budgeting (PB) has spread throughout world in recent years. Finnish municipalities are also in a process of introducing this method among their tool of participatory planning and decision making. However, there is much room for thinking about alternative designs, with different implications for practice. In this presentation Mikko Rask will first distinguish between six main models as implicitly introduced in the Finnish context of PB, and then discuss some major issues related to the utopian, dystopian and realist evaluations of this approach: How can it be regarded as a tool for making cities more democratic and enhancing the quality of life of their citizens; how it can be regarded as an instrument of power that just cements existing structures of inequalities; or how it can be selectively and flexibly used an instrument of policy making, citizen participation, and even that of knowledge co-creation. The talk will be based on recent evaluation studies and engagement with several municipalities in Finland. The seminar will be highly reflective and calling for discussions with experts and researchers interested in this topic.

Time: Friday, 7.2.2020 at 13:15-14:45, Metsätalo (Unioninkatu 40) Sali 29

Presentation slides Utopian&dystopian&realist

Seminar 17.1.2020: Effect of the city’s intervention on online public engagement: A case study of participatory budgeting using stochastic actor-oriented models

Despite the burgeoning literature on online deliberation, few studies have empirically examined the effectiveness of policy design and behavior intervention. Most previous studies tend to focus on new technology and evaluate the quality of deliberation and opinion change based on interviews, surveys, and experiments. However, the author argues that the role of governments is still crucial regardless of technology, and attention needs to be paid to research how citizens actually engage in online deliberative settings. Against the backdrop, the author will present preliminary results of a case study that aims to analyze the effect of interventions on online engagement. The analysis selected a case of Omastadi, a pilot participatory budgeting project initiated by the City of Helsinki that used a digital platform in which citizens proposed and developed ideas into feasible plans in collaboration with citizens and experts. The raw data were collected by parsing the web pages of all proposals and plans, then reconstructed into longitudinal network data. The relationship between interventions and significant change of engagement will be analyzed through stochastic actor-oriented models.

Time: Friday, 17.1.2020 at 13:15-14:45, Metsätalo (Unioninkatu 40) Sali 29

The presenter Bokyong (Bo) Shin is a PhD student in Urban Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. He is interested in studying governance arrangements, where multiple stakeholders, who have different interests, resources, and power are incorporated into collective decision-making processes. Based on the communicative planning theory and social capital theory, he attempts to use statistical network models and topic modeling to investigate how actors build collective capacity and engage in deliberation under specific institutional settings.

Bokyong is a member of the Helsinki School of Critical Urban Studies