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Participative budgeting

Participative Budgeting in Tartu 2023
Participative Budgeting
Winning Ideas

The Participative Budgeting Process in Tartu

Gathering Ideas – 8-30 April 2024

  • Ideas may be submitted by everyone – both individuals and organisations.
  • Ideas can be submitted on the Local governments' councils' information system Volis, via e-mail [email protected] or postal mail to Tartu City Government.
  • The names of individuals and organisations submitting ideas will be made public.
  • Ideas must be investment objects.
  • The total sum for participative budgeting is 200,000 EUR.  For an investment object, the maximum cost is 100,000 EUR. Therefore, at least two ideas will be developed into projects.

Participatory budget ideas could be submitted from April 8th to April 30th, 2024.

Technical Preparation – May-June 2024

  • At the stage of technical preparation,

    • ideas will be divided into groups by theme,

    • and, the feasibility of the ideas will be considered from financial, temporal and technical points of view.

Infeasible ideas will be removed, all such decisions will be accounted for on Volis.

Discussions – June 2024

Goals: substantial discussion over ideas and their effect, merging and amending ideas, selecting ideas for public voting (c.20-25)


  • All ideas deemed feasible during the previous stage will be placed on the city's homepage for commenting.

  • If necessary, the project authors will be given suggestions on how to improve their ideas, or it may be recommended to merge several similar ideas.

  • For each field, an expert group will be assembled, which includes the authors of ideas (one representative per idea in each group), experts of the corresponding field from Tartu City Government and specialists of the given field from elsewhere.

  • Each theme group will discuss their ideas and judge them based on criteria previously agreed upon.

  • Each theme group must determine, which ideas from that group will be presented for the public vote.

Discussion in August 2020. Photo by Mana Kaasik
Discussion in August 2020. Photo by Mana Kaasik

Introducing Ideas – August - September 2024

  • The proposers will seek support for their ideas.

  • The city government will introduce all chosen ideas on equal terms on the city's homepage, in public city space, via social media, etc.

  • A public function will be held so that the proposers can introduce their ideas.

Kaarsild exhibition
Kaarsild exhibition

Public Vote – in 3-9 October 2024

  • Every person, at least 14 years of age (who, according to the Estonian Population Register, is a resident of Tartu as of the date of announcing the public vote), can participate in the voting.
  • Each person participating in the voting can vote for up to three ideas.

  • Votes can be made electronically.

  • Votes can be made personally, when using an identification card or mobile-ID, or in the Tartu City Information Centre, with assistance from an employee. When using the Information Centre, the voter will be asked to present identification.

  • The voting lasts for one week.

  • Local governments' councils' information system Volis will be used for the vote.

Last changed 08.04.2024

The Participative Budgeting Process in Tartu

Tartu was the first city in Estonia that opened its budget designing process to citizens and began experimenting with participative budgeting in 2013. Citizens of Tartu can decide how their city should spend 200,000 EUR, which is about 1% of the subsequent year’s investment budget.


Tartu has set three goals for participative budgeting:


  • to improve understanding of the city budget and its shaping process;

  • to boost cooperation between communities;

  • and, to find solutions to practical problems within the city by implementing citizens’ ideas.


The process for implementing participatory budgeting in Tartu:


  • Call for Ideas. Every citizen can present an idea, but the criteria are that it must qualify as an investment (object, building, etc.) and that the cost of realisation should not exceed 100,000 EUR.  Each year, at least two ideas are developed into projects, totalling the overall budget of 200,000 EUR. The ideas must be connected to Tartu, for public use and of benefit to ordinary citizens. Implementation of the ideas must not generate unreasonable costs in future budgets for the city.

  • Expert Opinions on Ideas. The presented ideas will be analysed by experts in their respective fields. Experts consider the feasibility of the ideas from various aspects, including financial, temporal and technical.

  • Discussions.  In-depth discussions of the ideas and their impact will be held between the experts and the people behind the ideas. These discussions will determine which ideas go forward to the final vote.

  • Presentation of Ideas. The city government will present all of the selected ideas on the city's homepage, in public city spaces, via social media, etc. The individuals who proposed the ideas will then seek support for them.

  • Public Voting. Citizens will have the opportunity to vote for all of the ideas (which are in accordance with the budget and received positive expert evaluation),  using both traditional and electronic means. Every resident of Tartu, aged 14 years or more, is eligible to vote (3 votes per person). The idea with most votes wins and will be approved by the City Council.

  • Implementing Ideas.  The two ideas which gather the most public support will be implemented.

The participative budgeting process is organised by the Public Relations Department of Tartu City Government. E-government Academy counsels Tartu on preparing and processing the participative budgeting.


Additional information:
Lilian Lukka

Communications Manager
Department of Public Relations in Tartu City Government
[email protected]

Last changed 16.02.2024

Ideas that have won so far


  • Investing in presentation technology for Kultuurikvartal (Culture block). It was put into practice in 2014.


  • Renovating barriers on the banks of the Emajõgi. It was put into practice in 2015.
  • More convenient sidewalks at intersections. It was put into practice in 2015.


  • Draft Design / Feasibility Study for Tartu Mechanical Arena. It was put into practice in  2017.
  • Amphitheatre on Toome Hill. It was not put into practice.


  • Reconstruction of the roof of the historical stable building. The building at Jänese 23, Raadi, was built as a stable in 1913 and is the only surviving building of its kind in Estonia and the Baltic States. It is also important in terms of cultural, military and sports history. At present, children and young people can use it to practise horse-riding, and therapy sessions for special needs people, public events and competitions are also held there. Reconstruction of the roof of the stable building will save it from destruction. It was put into practice in  2017.
  • Aparaaditehas Pocket Park. The plan is to turn the courtyard of Aparaaditehas in the Vaksali-Kastani district into a ‘pocket park’, where people can enjoy greenery, sit on benches or in cafés with terraces. The park will also have a hopscotch area for children and a community stage for performances and concerts. The park will be open from early morning until late at night. It was put into practice in  2017.


  • Walking Trails Along the Banks of the Emajõgi River and in the Tähtvere Arboretum. Tracks would run along the river bank starting from Tähtvere Sports Park and including the Jänese hiking area and dendropark. The swampy river banks mean that a range of actions would need to be undertaken in order to construct such tracks. It was put into practice in  2018.
  • Movement Inspiring Courtyard. Students at Mart Reinik School together with scientists from Tartu University and parents have prepared a conceptual design for the courtyard of their school so as to get students exercising more during breaks and after school. The courtyard area would also be open for public use for people living nearby. It was put into practice in  2019.


  • Outdoor area of Tartu City Centre School that advocates physical activity. Tartu City Centre School has more than half a thousand students. Starting from this year, all kids have one 20-minute outdoor recess. We want our kids to MOVE as much as possible during the outdoor breaks rather than spending that time sitting (again!) and poking at their smartphones. Kids need to run, jump, climb and play – that would make them happier and more focused when they return to the class. Kids love the outdoor recess but there is limited space around the school and there is not much gear available for activities today. With the participative budgeting project, we would like to build climbing and hanging poles, strength and balance exercise equipment, a ball game court, trails, kickbike ramps, etc. It was put into practice in 2019.
  • Annelinn’s sports ground renovation.  The aim is to build a court with a suitable surface for ball games and other sports outside the Tartu Descartes’ School and Tartu Hansa School along with exercise equipment next to the court. At the moment the area is dated, it mainly comprises of a running track with a natural surface, a soccer field and an area for ball games and outdoor training equipment. The tarmac on the ball game court is broken with grass growing from the cracks, deep puddles form when it rains. We wish to offer the schools and kindergartens, as well as the nearby residents a chance to engage in active sports both on the ball game field and in the outdoor gym. It was put into practice in 2019.


  • Excellent bikeways. The purpose of the idea was to make the movement of cyclists in the city safer and more convenient. In cooperation with the author of the idea, Soola Street was chosen because cyclists have repeatedly pointed out that moving by bicycle between Turusild (Market Bridge) and Aleksandri Street could be smoother and safer. In the course of the works, a cycle and pedestrian track with communications, a sidewalk, pedestrian crossings and lighting will be built along the section of Soola Street from Väike-Turu Street to Turu Street. A parking area for bicycles, along with a shelter, will be built along the street, and traffic safety will be increased through the construction of intersections and exits. Deciduous trees and bushes will be planted next to the cycle and pedestrian track, and rubbish bins and a bench will be installed. It was put into practice in 2020.
  • Tähtpere Garden at Tartu Catholic School. Tähtpere Garden is a playing environment open for everyone in Tähtvere, next to the Catholic Church. 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. It was put into practice in 2021.


  • Raadi green football park grandstand. The number of football fans in Tartu has grown exponentially in recent years; unfortunately, current football infrastructure is unable to accommodate all who are interested. Tartu football club Welco is building a special football stadium at Raadi, in close proximity to the Estonian National Museum, the keywords of which are environmental protection and carbon neutrality. At the heart of the complex is a grandstand based on a wooden structure with a unique architectural solution. As football is mostly played in Estonia in bad weather, it is extremely important for both spectators and players that it is possible to watch games and trainings without rain and snow falling in their collars. In addition to football, the grandstand with its roof and walls provides an opportunity to organize concerts and performances, an outdoor cinema, and enjoy them all while staying dry. It will be put into practice in  2022.
  • Creating an area inviting movement in the yard of the Veeriku School. The Veeriku School suffers from a great lack of space, both in terms of the breaks between lessons and in teaching work, especially in the case of physical education classes. The school yard is completely depreciated and there are also no mobility opportunities for school-age children in the Veeriku area with its 5400 inhabitants. In order to provide students with better conditions for physical activities during the school day and for the residents of the entire area outside of school time, we are planning an outdoor area that invites people to move about, which takes into account the interests and needs of schoolchildren of different ages (pump track, parkour wall, outdoor gym, etc.) and offers attractive activities for more passive young people (a table tennis table, rest areas, etc.). It was put into practice in 2021.


  • Port railway as a cycle and pedestrian track green corridor. A scenic and safe connecting road for cycle and pedestrian traffic can be built on the site of the former port railway. Following the removal of the rails, the historic port rail corridor has already been transformed into an exciting urban movement corridor, where it is pleasant to move, away from the dangers of car traffic, exhaust gas and noise. However, the coarse crushed stone left by the railway is not smooth enough to allow for comfortable walking, running or rolling. At the same time, it is an ideal foundation for a grit or asphalt covered footpath and cycle track. The port railway and bicycle path is a quiet traffic corridor safely separated from cars, which allows for a pleasant stay in urban nature and offers habitats for many species of plants and animals. It will be put into practice in  2022.
  • Modernisation of the Emajõgi beach area. Tartu is well-suited for enjoying a relaxing holiday, where greenery and a pleasant urban landscape meet. Routes of travel along the Emajõgi River are being developed, but there is no representative beach. The aim is to create a representative beach on the song festival stage side of the river, with a proper toilet, washing facilities, proper changing rooms and a safe place to store things. There are many cyclists in Tartu, yet there are not enough bike ricks for people who come to the beach. Beaches that have become overgrown along their edges must once again be cleaned and expanded. It will be put into practice in  2022.


Last changed 26.01.2022