Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Greening Cities through Participatory Budgeting: Answers to Climate Change from Lisbon, Portugal and Molina de Segura, Spain

Yves Cabannes

International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD)



Greening Cities through Participatory Budgeting, by Yves Cabannes, is both a practical guide and a heartfelt encouragement to implement or consolidate green participatory budgeting (PB) in cities, districts and countries. In the form of a Q&A document, Cabannes presents the current practices of PB, principally green and climate PB, in the cities of Lisbon, Portugal and Moline de Segura, Spain. Specifically, Cabannes explores case studies of the city-wide Green Seal PB in Lisbon and the Lisbon School Green PB Pilot, and the School Climate PB in Moline de Segura.

In Section 1, Cabannes recaps PB, defines what green PB and climate PB are, and clearly lays out why he believes cities should implement PBs. He also discusses successful PBs around the world, and identifies what factors contribute to the success or failure of a PB.

In Section 2, he homes in on Lisbon to recap its 10-year history of PB, including how it has transitioned to green PB and how its Green Seal PB appeared in 2018.

Section 3 then continues with a detailed look at Lisbon’s Green Seal PB in 2018/2019 – considering its benefits, how it has been integrated into “normal” PB practice in Lisbon, examples of green PB before it became official in 2018, and what happens to citizen-proposed projects that are not selected. Section 3 is divided into three parts, which specifically answer questions about Lisbon’s Green Seal PB in light of: design / rules / institutional aspects / normative dimension / governance; participation; and finance (the budgetary part of PB).

Cabannes shines a light on Lisbon’s School Green PB and Molina de Segura’s climate PB in Section 4. With a similar approach to Section 3, he answers questions about their implementation, successes, obstacles and failures in light of four categories: general and climate-related; finance; PB design / rules / institutional aspects / normative / governance; and participation.

The Q&A document is concluded in Sections 5 and 6. In Section 5, Cabannes highlights the challenges (both limitations and risks) that his case-study PBs have faced, what lessons have been learnt, what benefits have already been produced – despite the inability to implement elected projects along the original timeline – and how green PB can be mainstreamed.

Cabannes then looks at the future prospects of green and climate PB in Section 6. He considers the impact of COVID-19, how to measure the positive climate impacts of Green Seal projects and green PB, and what Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) green PB can contribute to. He closes with his hopes for the future of PBs in both cities.

Section 7 provides an appendix of green PB tools and instruments.


Book note prepared by Hannah Keren Lee

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