Direct democracy can be, under certain conditions, a way of dealing with the citizen's disengagement from representative politics.  A range of other ways of involving citizens in governance has emerged, fuelled by web and social media applications: participatory budgeting and crowdfunding for government projects, for example, give members of communities a voice in fiscal decision-making processes and invite them to deliberate on the local authorities' financial decisions. Are these phenomena confined to a few pioneering cities or are they heralding a shift towards participatory democracy?

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