The City of Helsinki implements participatory budgeting through the OmaStadi project. In participatory budgeting, citizens can propose small projects and decide how the city will spend 8.8 million euros of the city budget. Participatory budgeting has now reached the stage where proposals are being finalised. In the autumn of 2021, Helsinki residents will be able to vote on the proposals to be funded, the formation of which can be found throughout the process on OmaStad’s website.
Earlier in the spring, we supported the OmaStadi project by leading eight large-district ‘Alueraksa’ workshops where city dwellers worked in groups to refine their proposals. After the regional workshops, the focus moved to thematic workshops. The theme groups brought together suggestions made by city dwellers on the same theme, which were discussed with city experts. The themes included ecology, culture, exercise and outdoor activities, learning and skills, parks and nature, the built environment, health and wellbeing and community. The aim of the thematic projects was for experts and citizens to work together in order to finalise the proposals so that they are feasible and meet the OmaStadi criteria.
The proposals of the townspeople concern in particular the development of outdoor areas. Many want public saunas and swimming areas in their area. Improvements to parks and outdoor sports venues have also been popular proposals.
It was gratifying to see how the townspeople and the city’s expert officials had long and lucrative discussions about the city’s development. The practical problems with the proposals were rectified and many new insights emerged for future development.
OmaStadi is Helsinki’s participatory budgeting concept. Citizens will be able to propose and decide upon how the city will spend 8.8 million euros from the city budget. Citizens will vote on the proposals in the autumn of 2021 with the proposals receiving the most votes subsequently implemented. More information about OmaStad can be found at omastadi.hel.fi.