Stanford’ s Social Algorithm’ s Lab (SOAL) has built an interactive Participatory Budgeting Platform that allows users to simulate budgetary decision making on $1 million dollars of public monies. The Lab brings together economics, computer science, and networking to work on problems and understand the impact of social networking.
This project is part of Stanford’ s Widescope Project to help societies explore hard economic trade-offs, through data-driven social networks. It aims to help users:
- Search: Study budgets proposed by politicians and regular citizens,
- Propose: Design your own budgets, and state your reasons, and
- Influence: Comment, vote, develop consensus.
The Participatory Budgeting simulation highlights the fourth annual Participatory Budgeting in Chicago’ s 49th ward ‘“ the first place to implement PB in the U.S. This year $1 million, out of $1.3 million in Alderman capital funds, will be allocated through participatory budgeting.
One goal of the platform is to build consensus. The interactive geo-spatial mapping software enables citizens to more intuitively identify projects in a given area. Importantly, the platform forces users to make tough choices and balance competing priorities in real time.
The platform is an interesting example of a collaborative governance prototype that could be transformative in its ability to engage citizens with easily accessible mapping software.