Participatory City-planning Project: The "Change Your Na Solidaritě Park"
of households involved
Based on a conception for transforming the public spaces in the Prague 10 district, that district’s council decided to create an urban-planning study for the Na Solidaritě Park. Within this project, a participatory urban-planning survey was organized with the aim of ensuring that the city-planning changes met the needs and demands of the citizens who lived nearby the park and who used it the most. Residents in and around the Solidarita housing development were brought into multiple steps of the revitalization of the central park.
This participatory project had two main stages: the first sought to gather ideas for drafting city-planning studies. The second then sought to involve local residents in the process of commenting on and evaluating the studies submitted. The project was not confined to the park alone; it also focused on data on the local community and the area’s quality of life.
The “Change Your Na Solidaritě Park” project had its own dedicated web site, www.parksolidarita.cz, which gathered all project information into one place.
The first stage began with an information campaign and a quick field survey, performed by professional inquirers, focusing on the quality of life at the Solidarita housing estate. Then a detailed City Analytics analysis was prepared, mapping out the locality’s real social and demographic structure and its residents’ movements and daily activities. This was followed by two neighborhood town-hall discussions. This stage culminated in online voting on the ideas brainstormed at the neighborhood meetings and obtained from the field survey.
Based on the ideas gathered during the first participatory stage, three architectural studios selected by the Prague 10 City Council prepared studies for the park’s revitalization.
The second stage began with another neighborhood meeting, where the representatives of the three studios presented their studies. Then online voting on the three proposals followed, with the aim of gathering constructive feedback on the studies.
Two votes were organized – one about which ideas to send to the architects in the first stage, and the other about the urban-planning proposals in the second stage. An online voting system that requires verification via the entry of a unique PIN code was selected as optimum. The PIN codes were only placed in the letterboxes of the residents of the park’s very closest surroundings, so that the local community could have an exclusive say in decision-making about the park’s final appearance. The voting principle was one household = one vote. For each of these two voting events, 2,390 households were contacted via direct mailings to the letterboxes of all local residents.
1. A City Analytics process for the Solidarita locality – mapping it out using open and semi-open data
2. A field survey performed by inquirers in the streets – a one-day survey on its quality of life, with 113 respondents
3. Neighborhood meetings about the ideas – defining voting topics
4. Voting about ideas for the architects – 297 households voting
5. Neighborhood meeting about the architectural studies – proposal presentations
6. Votes on the architectural studies – 205 households voting
7. Meeting on project conclusions
One of the largest and oldest participatory budgeting processes in North America, organized by the New York City Council. Since 2011, the process has grown to include a majority of Districts, giving communities real decision-making over more than $30 million on an annual basis.
In September 2022, the New York City Mayor's Office and the CEC launched the first ever citywide participatory budgeting. People all over New York decided how to spend $5 million of the city’s budget to address local community needs.