BA Elige Foto: Gustavo Cherro ©

Buenos Aires has decided to listen to its citizens by introducing a new program called BA Elige (BA Chooses). This past April, over 26,000 porteños submitted proposals for improvements to neighborhoods around the city that they wanted to see become reality. After an analysis by city officials to determine each project’s feasibility, residents voted in August and September (up to 10 times each) on which proposals they thought should be carried out.

Roughly 130,000 votes later, 230 ideas were chosen, and they will be incorporated into the city’s budget for 2018. In total, the projects should cost about AR$ 500 million pesos (or US$28.5 million).

Among the most popular ideas was an aerobic circuit around Parque Avellaneda that includes a synthetic track for running, the installation of solar panels in Barrancas del Belgrano to power the lampposts in the area, and plenty of electronic screens on colectivo stops displaying in real-time how far the next bus is.

Some ideas were as simple putting more recycling containers on the streets, while others were a little more complex. Clarín spoke to one local woman who created a point system rewarding people for bringing recyclables to any one of the several spots around the city designated for their proper disposal. Points accumulated through recycling can be exchanged for discounts on taxes.

That’s right. Recycling can SAVE you money, and SAVE the Earth. Sounds like a win-win.

Other interesting ideas that could prove beneficial, but could not be completed for various reasons, included putting tables with built in chessboards in La Rural, constructing a space for roller derby, and of course, a late night subte.

Of course, not all of the ideas submitted made sense. One distressed resident proposed a one-block bike lane on the block he resides on, even though there’s already one on an adjacent street. That one didn’t make it to the City’s budget for next year.