Significance of the Participatory Budget in Supporting Green Infrastructure
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify the importance of participatory budget (PB) projects for the development of green infrastructure (GI) in cities, using the example of the city of Szczecin. Projects of this type are submitted for implementation by residents and it is the residents (through voting) who decide which projects will be implemented. The selection of certain types of projects can support the development of green infrastructure in urban areas, contributing to the objectives of sustainable development. Design/Methodology/Approach: The following research procedure was used: 1. Literature review 2. Collection of qualitative and quantitative data on the implementation of the participatory budget in Szczecin in 2021-2023 3. Selection of projects for the development and maintenance of green infrastructure 4. Quantitative analysis of the number and value of projects by area of benefits achieved with the development of green infrastructure 5. Formulation of conclusions. The method of document analysis (desk research), which belongs to qualitative research, was used at the various stages. The technique used was to analyse the documents’ content, taking into account an inductive approach combined with deductive reasoning, as well as elements of synthesis occurring at the conclusion stage. Findings: The analysis carried out shows that the number of GI-related projects submitted has doubled over the period under study, while costs have increased many times over. There has also been a steady increase in the number of GI-related projects selected for implementation by residents. Despite the fact that among the projects submitted for successive editions of the PB, they represent only about 10-13%, half of them are selected for implementation. The selection of GI-related projects contributes to the creation or maintenance/renovation of elements that can be part of the green infrastructure of an area. However, these are mostly point elements that can enhance the functions of green infrastructure, but do not form a network, which is a key determinant of green infrastructure. Practical Implications: The results of the study can provide important material for local authorities responsible for conducting socio-economic policy. Careful analyses of the projects submitted and selected for implementation indicate the possibility of using PB in the process of shaping green infrastructure that will contribute to improving the quality of life of city residents. Originality/Value: The issues of the design and operation of green infrastructure in urbanised areas are a relatively new research area and their combination with PB projects is rarely found in the literature. Conclusions indicate the possibility of using PB in the planning and management of green infrastructure in urbanised areas.