Open Cities Initiative
Working locally to help cities become more open, sustainable and inclusive. This initiative followed the path laid out in our Strategic Process for Open Governance (PEGA) document.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Voting is one of the foundations of democracy, but very few of us would be able to say that our quality of life has improved as a result of our vote. The problem here lies in a lack of communication between governments and citizens. Governments make unilateral decisions they believe will have a positive impact on the lives of citizens, communicate these actions and present results, but how can they be sure this is in line with citizens’ true needs and expectations? This contradiction gave rise to the current paradigm of good governance, namely open governance, which advocates for the inclusion of citizen voices in governmental decision-making processes.
Various international, federal and state-level initiatives have been developed to put this new paradigm into place, but few actions have been taken at the municipal level. The latter is a uniquely important and challenging level of government. It is important because it is usually a person’s first contact with government and as a consequence, citizens expect a great deal from municipal institutions. The challenging part stems from the fact that municipalities lack the resources to be able to meet these expectations.
WHAT WE ARE DOING ABOUT IT
We believe municipalities should be the institutions through which people can defend themselves from wrongs, have their voice heard, offer new ideas to improve their communities and exercise their rights.
In order to steer municipalities towards becoming this much-needed platform for citizens, we are helping them be more transparent, accountable and innovative by supporting them in the development of policies and case studies in line with open government pillars. Our Open Cities Program facilitates city leaders’ access to a range of tools, resources and an international network of support to accelerate the development and implementation of open government strategies.
Our work with various cities has resulted in the development of the Open City Law for Mexico City, the development of more citizen-friendly government portals such as the Open Data Portal, Bureaucratic Procedures (this was part of a government effort to make their procedures more user-friendly and efficient – at the time, there were over 2,600 procedures) and a unique Citizen Attention portal that offers agile processes and provides better responses to citizen requests and needs. All of these efforts leveraged the power of technology to drive better communication between sectors and a better delivery of public services.
OUR INNOVATIVE APPROACH
This initiative is comprised of two innovative elements:
– A network of cities, which aims at connecting city leaders with international support, which includes discussions over priorities, exchanges of best practices, experiences and best practices on a virtual platform and a physical platform called Open City Encounters. We worked with government agencies in various cities to create targeted case studies that cover topics such as public space recovery, waste management, mobility and health.
– An open government public policy framework for local governments. This document is adapted to the budgetary, economic and financial reality of Mexican municipalities, to ensure maximal relevance and utility.
In various cities across Mexico
OUR STARFISH MODEL
These initiatives are still being developed and furthered by PIDES Social Innovation and its partners.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the British Embassy in Mexico.
+ Mexican municipalities
We are working towards a world in which citizens feel understood and are part of the decision-making processes of their cities. We want municipal governments and their inhabitants to work in symbiosis, taking actions that elevate the quality of life in their jurisdiction.