A Japanese mini-forest, drinking water standpipes along a health trail and pedestrian underpasses were among the winners chosen from the recent inaugural participatory budget issued by the City of Tallinn and covering all eight districts of the capital.
2021 saw the debut participatory budget for the capital, though a similar process has been going on in Estonia's second city, Tartu, for some years. In short, the process enables ordinary residents to have a say in what improvements can be made to the city infrastructure, from a list of submitted ideas.
Competition was particularly intense, the city government said, with over 400 ideas submitted and just under 100 shortlisted for voting.
With €800,000 allocated for the projects for the 2021 financial year, a second round is to take place in the second half of the year.
Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said that two districts would even see the second-placed idea come to fruition.
Kõlvart said: "In the City Center (Kesklinn) and in [residential district] Kristiine, we can see the opportunity and need to implement the idea of both the first and the second placed entries. We will probably also implement some projects using a supplementary budget."
Winning ideas will be implemented in each district, but others will also be analyzed with a view to finding ways to take them into account, the city government says.
The winners by district, with links to more information, were:
- City Center: Drinking water faucets to be provided alongside health trails won with 557 votes (out of a total 2,531 votes cast), while a playground for older children (over 10) in Hirvepark came in second place and will also be realized.
- Kristiine: Japanese mini-forest on Tildri street came in first place (436 votes), while an illuminated adventure trail in Löwenruh park was second by just one vote, out of a total of 1,918 votes cast.
- Lasnamäe: Pedestrian tunnel under Mustakivi road (1,411 votes out of 4,856).
- Mustamäe: Sports hall on Kiili steet, 909 votes out of 2,153. The hall is intended for ball games and is connected to Tallinn Secondary School No 32.
- North Tallinn (Põhja Tallinn): Kopli street promenade (755 votes out of 2,811).
- Haabersti: Outdoor gym by the Vana-Rannamõisa road health trail (445 votes out of 1,814 cast).
- Nõmme: 765 votes out of 2,291 cast saw the winning entry chosen as reconstruction of health trails in the Pääsküla/Harku areas.
- Pirita: Cyclists, skateboarders and rollerbladers track on Rummu road (544 votes out of 1,196).
As reported on ERR News, 19,570 city dwellers – 5.1 percent of the total entitled to vote - took part in the referendum, with the bulk of the votes coming electronically, and a little over 1,000 cast on paper.
The city also plans gather feedback soon from those who submitted their ideas, and the community as a whole, to improve the process next time around.
All those registered resident in Tallinn and aged 14 and over were eligible to take part in the budget voting process, and each voter could pick up to two ideas they liked, the city government says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte