Know Your City!
The choice of the theme Know Your City for the 2014 Call for Proposals reflects the Cities Alliance’s strong conviction that a better knowledge of cities – and innovative ways of doing so – can bring the city government and its citizens together and help them engage with each other, build trust, share information, and improve accountability. These actions, in turn, support good governance and inclusive planning processes.
Read the article Top 5 Reasons to Know Your City!
Bolivia: Scaling up the Barrio Digital (Digital Neighbourhood) Programme in La Paz
One of the challenges faced by the Municipality of La Paz (GAMLP) is engaging communities to provide feedback on the performance of its primary urban upgrading initiative. The current project supports the development of an ICT-enabled platform – called Barrio Digital (Digital Neighbourhood) – that will enable citizens to provide feedback to the municipality.
The platform is based on customisable, open-source software so that it can be easily maintained by the municipality. The development and implementation of Barrio Digital allows citizens to send real-time feedback, grievances and requests for assistance from their cell phones or through the Internet to GAMLP through an online platform.
Metropolis, the World Bank partner in this initiative, is providing technical inputs on the design and implementation of the programme and will also support dissemination and knowledge sharing of results and lessons learnt. The activity is sponsored by Metropolis and implemented by the World Bank and the Municipality of La Paz.
The Barrio Digital tool was launched in October 2016 by La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla.
Read an article about the tool: Speak up, citizens of La Paz! Barrios de Verdad is listening
Residents in La Paz use mobile phones to practice submitting feedback to their municipal government via the Barrio Digital tool. Photo: Barrios de Verdad team
Global: Using SafetiPin to build Safer Communities
This activity supports the undertaking of Safety Audits in three cities – Delhi, Bogota and Nairobi – to help improve safety, especially for women. By collecting night-time, map-based data on a city, residents can use the information to identify problem areas.
It expands the use of SafetiPin, a mobile app that provides safety-related information collected by users.
The project use cameras at night on moving vehicles to capture nighttime photos across the city and upload them on to a server. These photos are then codified and translated into data points on the Safetipin map. This data is made available to service providers to improve safety in different areas. It is also shared with NGOs, women’s groups and other civil society organisations to aid their advocacy efforts.
The project is implemented by UN-Habitat, Colombia's Secretaría Distrital de la Mujer (Secretary of Women), and the City County of Nairobi.
So far, the project has collected and mapped its first data on the three cities.
Guatemala: RedACTES: Citizens Action Network for Safe and Efficient Public Transportation
This activity pilots the Citizen Action Network for Safe and Efficient Public Transportation initiative (RedACTES) in Guatemala City. RedACTES seeks to contribute to the provision of safe and efficient public transportation for poor and underserved communities, especially women, and combat corruption in the city’s public transportation sector.
The initiative features several components, including the development of a “Passenger Charter” to make city residents aware of their rights in terms of transportation; creation of a web-based platform to monitor, denounce, and respond to breakdowns in service delivery; daily radio communiqués on problem areas and/or improvements; and fostering dialogue to strengthen the oversight and accountability of public and private institutions.
Sponsored by UN-Habitat and GIZ, the project is implemented by Acción Ciudadana, Guatemalan affiliate of the global anti-corruption organisation Transparency International.
Guinea-Bissau: Mieux se connaitre pour construire l'avenir de Bissau
This activity aims to help citizens, especially young people from poor neighbourhoods in Bissau, obtain access to basic services, such as health care, family planning, education, and vocational training. It also seeks to create linkages between residents, civil society, local government and service providers so they can develop a better understanding of mutual needs and concerns.
It will do this by establishing community development centres in marginalised neighbourhoods, where residents can get information about public, private and community services, such as training and employment. It will also create mechanisms for citizen participation and public debate that will help the city get a better idea of service needs, and give residents an opportunity for input.
Sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the project will be implemented by ESSOR, ALTERNAG (Association bissau guinéennes d’études et d’alternatives), and ANADEC (Action nationale pour le développement communautaire).
Haiti: Système d’information urbaine pour Canaan
This activity designs and implements an integrated, participatory urban information system to guide interventions in the Canaan neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, which has expanded rapidly following the 2010 earthquake.
In addition to the information system, the activity aims to strengthen institutional cooperation and facilitate dialogue among all stakeholders on urban planning in Canaan. With the data available to the public, it is also expected to improve communication with residents on planned interventions. The experiences and methodology used are expected to inform the National Housing Policy that is currently under development.
UN-Habitat will implement the initiative jointly with two Haitan organisations that oversee urban interventions: l’Unité de Construction de Logements et de Bâtiments Publics (UCLBP), the body responsible for reconstruction and housing policy; and the Centre National d’Information Géo-Spatial (CNIGS), an agency within the Ministry of Planning responsible for generating and dissemination geographic information. The proposal was sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Shack/Slum Dwellers International.
India: Bangalore Urban Metabolism Project (BUMP) – Informing better governance for urban sustainability
BUMP is a partnership between Stockholm Environment Institute, the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management. The interdisciplinary team has developed a formal framework, called urban metabolism, to address sustainability and equity challenges associated with rapid urbanisation.
This specific activity focuses on water flows in Bangalore, building on previous work that identified key knowledge gaps in both the water demand and supply. Specific outputs will provide critical policy insights and practical toolkits for scaling up the urban metabolism framework to other cities in India and beyond.
The project was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and is implemented by the Indian Institute of Science Department of Civil Engineering and the Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management.
Liberia: “IMAGINE MONROVIA” – Using Innovative Data Resources to Manage Monrovia’s Development
This activity aims to develop an innovative data collection system that will provide Monrovia’s urban poor with the tools and skills needed to collect data about their own communities. It will use firsthand data from residents to inform a city planning and service delivery strategy.
The project will conduct surveys in three (3) slum communities in Monrovia: Clara Town, New Kru Town and West Point. It will also provide training for data collectors at the community level, and build the capacity of Monrovia City Corporation staff in GIS mapping applications.
Information gathered will provide the knowledge sharing platform needed to implement the city’s first Five-year Strategic Plan, a key part of the Liberian Government’s effort to decentralise urban planning.
Sponsored by UN-Habitat, the project will be implemented by the Monrovia City Corporation and the Liberia Institute for Statistics & Geo-Information Services (LISGIS)
Myanmar: Mapping Yangon – The untapped communities
The first Cities Alliance activity in Myanmar, this project will help address a major lack of data on informal settlements in Yangon. It involves mapping the city’s informal settlements using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, with strong community engagement. The data collected will then be incorporated into the Yangon City Development Council’s city planning division.
Activities include the production of an inception report, identification of informal settlements, mapping informal settlement areas with community participation, an in-depth demographic and livelihood survey, and building capacity among the City Council to plan for the entire city. In addition, lessons learned will be documented and training modules developed to enable replication in other Myanmarese cities.
The project was sponsored by the Government of Norway, and will be implemented by UN-Habitat, the Yangon City Development Council, and the Ministry of Construction’s Urban Research and Development Institute.
Peru: Más información para más seguridad. Ciudadanos, municipalidades y policías informados para una mejor gestión local de la seguridad ciudadana en Lima y Callao
The project aims to procure accurate information on public safety in two cities – metropolitan Lima and Callao – in order to enable better public safety strategies and greater citizen engagement in the process.
It involves collecting and analysing information about local security risks and prevention, and making this data available to both the public and to those responsible for managing public safety, namely municipal governments, the national police, and neighbourhood committes.
As part of the initiative, residents are being educated in how to use the information to actively participate in the management of public safety, thereby making it more transparent and efficient.
Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, the activity is implemented by Instituto de Defensa Legal.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Creating Momentum for Change through Innovative Information Generation and Engagement at the City Level in Africa
A collaboration between SDI and the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS), this project seeks to build partnerships between slum dwellers, local planning schools, and the municipality in four secondary cities in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Namibia.
The main vehicles for developing these partnerships are “learning studios” for planning students, who work together with communities to collect data and identify priorities – thus instilling the concept of promoting inclusive cities in the next generation of urban planners.
This project builds on seven SDI-AAPS studios completed over the last two years. It seeks to scale up the focus from local community to precinct and city, extend the engagement from data gathering to planning intervention, and add the municipality as a critical third element of each partnership. In addition to the studios, the project also incorporates joint workshops among the cities and dissemination of findings.
West Bank/Gaza: Grassroots mobilisation towards improved emergency responsiveness and slum upgrading in East Jerusalem
This project will support the development of an urban database for residents of four East Jerusalem neighbourhoods (Kufar Aqab, Anata, Al ram, and Al Zaiem). Impacted by the construction of the separation wall in 2002, these neighbourhoods have been neglected by the Municipality of Jerusalem, and virtually all of the growth has been informal. They also lack basic services or any kind of official representative body.
Residents plan to use the information collected and made available in the database to proactively engage decision makers and donors on meeting their emergency and development needs. The project was sponsored by UCLG and UN-Habitat, which will also implement the activity.
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