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Participatory Budgeting as the Instrument of Technologically Supported Dialogue in Cracow, Poland

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Ordinary citizens today support the local decision-making authorities in the domain of public spending using the instrument of participatory budgeting. The situation is of particular interest in Cracow, the second largest city in Poland in terms of the number of residents, as it stands out for its intensive and advanced use of technology. Here, participatory budgeting is a formalized, multi-stage procedure, composed of an information and education campaign, preparation and submission of projects, verification of submitted projects, submission and examination of protests, voting, implementing of projects, and informing about the concluded projects. Using participatory budgeting, the residents communicate their needs and obtain funds to satisfy them. Participatory budgeting covers on average 0.5% of the municipal budget and is decided by 5–7% of Cracow’s residents. The research covers the years 2019–2021 and takes into consideration the changes resulting from the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. The article aims to examine the coexistence of forms of communication, supporting dialogue between residents and local officials in the participatory budgeting process. According to the adopted hypothesis, the two forms of communication used within participatory budgeting—the traditional ones and information and communication technologies (ICTs)—are not separated but are integrated into governance process and reinforce each other. The literature, legal provisions, the website on participatory budgeting, media information, social media, and evaluation reports based on qualitative and quantitative methods were analyzed. The results show that the introduction of participatory budgeting resulted in a new type of dialogue and relationship between residents and local officials, based on the traditional tools of communication and ICTs. ICTs cannot replace the traditional forms of communication but their potential should be used to a greater extent. As both forms of communication, direct and indirect (technologically supported), coexist and have their own advantages and limitations, especially under normal, non-epidemic conditions, the two should facilitate and reinforce each other.

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Sujets de la revue:
Business and Economics, Political Economics, other, Computer Sciences, Law, Social Sciences