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Can participatory budgeting be used as an effective tool for democracy? Existing literature on participatory budgeting and its use in the United States has focused on its potential to successfully engage communities in the political system and encourage processes of democracy. But, in Chicago, specific implementation problems hinder the use of participatory budgeting as a successful and equitable democratic tool for urban planning. In this study, I analyze qualitative data from interviews with local aldermanic offices and quantitative data about participatory budgeting and TIF spending to discern whether these programs are being used most effectively. I look at how we can use controversial TIFs as a potential funding source for participatory budgeting to best bolster communities’ democratic control over their neighborhoods.




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