Cities, Technology and Democracy Study Group Session 1: Participatory Budgeting


Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mt. Auburn St., Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

MeetingArchon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship
Chris Osgood, Co-chair, Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics
Shari Davis, Executive Director, Boston Youth Fund

About the Session
This interactive session will focus on innovations in participatory democracy including Boston’s youth participatory budgeting project, the first ever in the country. Guests will include Chris Osgood, co-chair of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, and Shari Davis, Executive Director of the Boston Youth Fund.

Click here to read more about the event.


Read the Challenges to Democracy blog post about this event

View Photos from the Event

Suggested Reading
Perspectives on Politics, Reinventing Democracy in Latin America (Archon Fung): “In cities across Brazil, millions of citizens are participating in a wide range of novel institutions of participatory democratic governance that confer control over municipal investments, urban planning, health care, community development, and other areas of local public life.” See especially the section A Big Bang: Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre. [Harvard Access required]

Background on Boston’s Youth Participatory Budgeting initiative: “From January through July, young residents, organizations, city staff, and youth advocates will come together in a Steering Committee to design and help oversee the PB process.”

About the Study Group
This event is the first in a four-part study group series, “Cities, Technology, and Democracy” organized by HKS student groups Tech4Change and the Regional, State, Local, Tribal (RSLT) Governance PIC, along with the Ash Center. Over the course of four sessions, the group will explore how new tools empower citizens and create “smart” cities. The study group will also discuss important challenges. For instance, will the expansion of data and technology really be accessible to everyone, or will some groups be left behind?

Session 2: The Responsive City with Susan Crawford (February 19)

Session 3: From Potholes to Policies with Quinton Mayne (March 26)