Record turnout for Tartu's participatory budget public vote

Woman looks at exhibition of Tartu participatory budget 2019 ideas in Tartu.
Woman looks at exhibition of Tartu participatory budget 2019 ideas in Tartu. Source: Ahto Sooaru

More than 7,000 Tartu residents cast votes in the city's 2019 participatory budget which aims to make the city a nicer place to live. The winning ideas were new city bike lanes and a school garden.

A total of 7,312 Tartu residents took part in the participatory budget vote, which took place from Oct. 3–9, casting a total of 15,510 votes.

The most votes were cast for idea No. 3 "Excellent bikeways" which received 1,840 votes and idea No. 20 "Tähtpere Garden at Tartu Catholic School" which got 1,273 votes. The full results and information about the ideas can be seen below.

The number of voters has increased every year, with this year proving to be a record-setting year, a statement from Tartu City Government said. A total of 9.3 percent of the city's eligible voters, of which there are 79,000 people who are 14 or older, took the time to vote. More than 606 Tartu residents voted at the Tartu Town Hall Information Centre and the rest online.

In 2018 there were 5,291 voters, 6.6 percent of the total number of voters, who cast 10,318 votes.

A total of 78 ideas were submitted to the participatory budget process, which began in the spring, with 25 ideas making their way through the meetings of experts and summer public discussions.

The goal of the participatory budget is to improve cooperation between communities, introduce city residents to the principles behind budget preparation, and to actually bring something to life.

Each voter had the opportunity to choose between 25 ideas submitted by fellow city residents, and to cast up to three votes.

In 2020 at least two of the ideas that received the most votes will be brought to life. The maximum upper limit for one idea is €100,000. The total budget for Tartu's participative budget is €200,000.


Idea No. 3. Excellent bikeways (1840 votes)
Idea No. 20. Tähtpere Garden at Tartu Catholic School (1273 votes)
Idea No. 19. Rehabilitation of the Supilinn pond (1117 votes)
Idea No. 25. 1,000 new trees and shrubs (964 votes)
Idea No. 14. The world's largest photo gallery on end walls of houses in Annelinn (925 votes)
Idea No. 4. The Emajõe Vabaujula beach (825 votes)
Idea No. 5. An innovative sports ground for Härma School (814 votes)
Idea No. 9. Renovation of the Devil's Bridge (787 votes)
Idea No. 12. Better-looking sales stands for flower sellers (773 votes)
Idea No. 11. An activity park in the courtyard of Kivilinna School (726 votes)
Idea No. 22. A sports ground on Uus Street (602 votes)
Idea No. 17. Benches in the urban space (558 votes)
Idea No. 18. A sauna at the Emajõgi Linnaujula beach (557 votes)
Idea No. 1. The Anneka Vabala leisure area (494 votes)
Idea No. 24. A recreation park in Ülejõe (418 votes)
Idea No. 8. Renovated guardrails – a more beautiful Tartu (382 votes)
Idea No. 15. Renovating Musumägi on Toomemägi (380 votes)
Idea No. 7. An activity area in central Ilmatsalu  (378 votes)
Idea No. 10. Replacing 'mud tracks' with convenient ways and a well-kept urban space (348 votes)
Idea No. 21. Raised intersections in Karlova (295 votes)
Idea No. 6. Completion of Ihaste Sports Park (287 votes)
Idea No. 13. A study centre for green construction and reuse storage for old building elements on Aleksandri Street (277 votes)
Idea No. 2. Disc golf to every district of Tartu (271 votes)
Idea No. 16. Renovating the stairs on Mäe Street (171 votes)
Idea No. 23. A better view – 100+ mirrors (48 votes)

All the ideas can be viewed here.

Excellent bikeways

Proposed by: Andres Nöps and Mona Seppern

"Tartu is a smaller city, perfect for bicycle traffic. Many road users still perceive the poor quality of bikeways and their marking as a 'bottleneck'. Cyclists don't feel safe and they switch between sideways and roads depending on the situation. Bikeways need to be properly marked and also physically separated from the road where possible. Building safe intersections that would be comprehensible for everyone is also extremely important. Critical places such as areas near schools and bike-share stations need special attention. The exact choice of objects to be financed from the participatory budget (bikeway markings, lowering curbs etc.) can be made in cooperation with bike users."

Example design of how Tartu's bike lanes could look. Source: Andres Nöps and Mona Seppern / Tartu Linn

Tähtpere Garden at Tartu Catholic School

Proposed by: Council of Tartu Catholic School

"Tähtpere Garden is a playing environment open for everyone in Tähtvere, next to the Catholic Church. The area is currently overgrown and muddy in rainy weather. The new garden would combine physical activities, urban nature and learning science through playing. In the park area, everyone from children to pensioners would find a peaceful place to sit and think. Activities for schoolchildren and families would be concentrated in the area in front of the building, with a roomy playground and a ball game ground separated from the park by a jungle gym. The jungle gym can be used for climbing, hanging and swinging while learning the effects of the laws of physics. The park area would feature local shrubs and undergrowth plants besides trees; hotels would be installed for insects, birds and hedgehogs. The life and inhabitants of the garden are presented with explanatory signs and a special guided tour which can be taken on one's own any time."

The playground at Tartu Catholic School as it currently is in 2019. Source: Tartu Catholic School / Tartu Linn


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Editor: Helen Wright

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