Neighborhood Revitalization Program - Minneapolis

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= example of Participatory Budgeting and the use of Taxes as Commons:

Description

"Minneapolis, Minnesota embarked on a unique program two decades ago to put neighborhood groups in charge of how to spend millions of dollars each year. Activists across the city used to protest about how much municipal funding went into lavish downtown projects, while neighborhoods struggled with economic, crime, and housing issues. This led to an inspired idea: let neighborhoods themselves spend $20 million a year of the property tax revenues coming out of these taxpayer-supported downtown projects. That’s how the innovative Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) was born.

The city is divided into eighty one neighborhoods, and each was allotted a certain sum of money based on its economic needs. Communities came together in a series of meetings to discuss what could be done to improve life in their part of town. Half of the money was earmarked for housing programs, based on neighbors’ assessment of needs and their ideas for solutions. The rest of the money was available for other projects that the neighborhood would decide. Plans were then carried out by a committee elected by residents, who worked with city staff.

The Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) unleashed a tide of remarkable creativity on the part of Minneapolis residents as they conceived projects and innovations that had never before been discussed inside city hall. One community launched its own neighborhood school—a controversial idea at the time that has now become the norm throughout Minneapolis. Others refurbished business districts, improved libraries and community centers. Addressing poverty and racial injustice was part of many neighborhood’s agenda. The Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which is still underway in a scaled-back and some say less participatory form, literally changed the face of Minneapolis." (http://onthecommons.org/content.php?id=2340)