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Participative budgeting

Participative Budgeting in Tartu 2018
Participative Budgeting
Winning Ideas

Participative Budgeting in Tartu 2018

The voting on the participatory budget has ended. The most votes were received by idea No. 20, Outdoor area of Tartu City Centre School that advocates physical activity (1203 votes) and idea No. 2, Annelinn’s sports ground renovation (1053 votes). Read  more.

The total sum for participative budgeting is 200,000 EUR.  Ideas that would result in a new investment object in the city of Tartu, may be presented for the participative budgeting process. For an investment object, the maximum cost is 100,000 EUR. Therefore, at least two ideas will be developed into projects.

The Participative Budgeting Process in Tartu

Gathering Ideas – 16th April – 6th May

Technical Preparation – May

  • 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

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.

Result: 25 ideas for public voting.

Public discussion. Photo by Ove Maidla
Public discussion. Photo by Ove Maidla

Introducing Ideas – July-October

  • 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.

At 17.30 on 4 October, everyone interested is invited to SPARK Demo (Narva mnt 3), where the authors of the ideas will be introducing their ideas and answering questions about how their idea in particular will make Tartu a better place. The event will also be live streamed, with viewing possible on the City of Tartu’s homepage and Facebook channel.

Kaarsild exhibition
Kaarsild exhibition

Public Vote – 4-10 October

  • Every person, at least 16 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.


Read about the ideas and vote here (4-10 October 2018)

Implementing Ideas – In 2019

  • At least two ideas that received the most votes will be implemented. If the cost for the two most popular ideas is under 100,000 €, the next best idea that can be achieved with the remaining funds will also be implemented.

  • The investment object that was chosen by public vote will be realised by the city government. 

  • The ideas for participative budgeting must be realised in the year 2019.

Public discussions 2018

In-depth discussions of the ideas and their impact took place in June between the experts and the people behind the ideas. These discussions determined which ideas go forward to the final vote.

Photos: Ove Maidla

Last changed 10.10.2018

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 16 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

Last changed 16.08.2018

Ideas that have won so far


  • Investing in presentation technology for Kultuurikvartal (Culture block).


  • Renovating barriers on the banks of the Emajõgi.
  • More convenient sidewalks at intersections.


  • Draft Design / Feasibility Study for Tartu Mechanical Arena.
  • Amphitheatre on Toome Hill.


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.

Winning projects


Last changed 29.11.2018