The GovLab is working with Select Northern Mexican Cities’ Own Residents to Tackle Urban Problems
BROOKLYN, New York, September 16, 2020 – Hermosillo, Reynosa, San Nicolás, San Pedro, and Torreón have been selected to participate in the Multi-City Challenge México 2020. The five Municipalities in northern Mexico will work with The Governance Lab (The GovLab) at New York University Tandon School of Engineering for three months to define complex urban problems, identify possible solutions proposed by the community, and develop these ideas into action plans that can later be piloted.
The Multi-City Challenge Mexico 2020 (MCC2020) aspires to discover and implement innovative solutions to pressing urban problems through participatory methodologies. It is an initiative led by The GovLab, supported by the Tinker Foundation and Consejo Nuevo León, and in collaboration with the Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO), Transparencia Mexicana, and Socialab.
The initiative’s Advisory Council, comprising members from Mexican and international organizations, selected Hermosillo, Reynosa, San Nicolás, and Torreón through a competitive process in which the teams’ experience, vision on the potential impact of the program, and support from the municipality’s president were taken into consideration.
The MCC2020 is based on the success of City Challenges, a pilot that The GovLab implemented in 2016 in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico. Dinorah Cantú, San Pedro’s Secretary of Innovation and Citizen Participation, indicated that in addition to identifying solutions to public problems, “the most valuable aspect of the first pilot was that it generated a new participation infrastructure in which citizens are involved in each stage of the design of public policies or programs.”
The five cities in northern Mexico will have the opportunity to share their experiences during the program and explore opportunities for collaboration to identify, validate, and scale solutions to common challenges.
“We are very enthusiastic about the program, in addition to having the advice of public innovation experts, we will work hand in hand with other municipalities whose experiences will undoubtedly also be enriching,” explained Karla Niño, Director of Regulatory Improvement of San Nicolás.
The participating Municipal teams are receiving training on identifying and defining priority issues relevant to the community.
“Problem definition training is the first necessary step towards articulating an open challenge involving citizen participation. If you cannot define what you are looking for, it is impossible to make an effective call for participation,” explains Victoria Alsina, Academic Director of the project.
The topics to be explored include economic reactivation in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the risks of reopening for the population, urban mobility, pollution, and the social inclusion of the elderly, among other topics.
“We hope that the program will contribute to increasing our ability to innovate through the use of participatory tools that allow Torreón to be positioned in a sustainable and globally relevant scenario,” indicated Frida García, Director of Strategic Projects at IMPLAN Torreón.
The program’s participatory model creates space for the community to become actively involved in the design of public policies and local programs, designing and suggesting solutions to the problems that directly affect it.
On October 1st, 2020, the cities will announce the theme of the two challenges, and citizens will be able to participate in two ways: submitting ideas or projects and/or voting for the best ideas through the program’s website.
“We are very excited to be part of the Multi-City Challenge and to share this challenge with sister border cities. With the support of citizens, we will be able to generate creative solutions for the great challenges that our city faces,” expressed Guadalupe Peñuñuri, General Director of IMPLAN Hermosillo.
Each municipality will select two ideas based on community preferences, potential impact, and proposal feasibility. The authors of the winning ideas will work hand in hand with municipal teams, The GovLab, and a network of experts to develop these ideas into prototypes and actionable plans.
“Citizens have an intimate knowledge of their needs and unlimited creativity, and by putting it at the center of the design of solutions, it helps us to ensure that they have a positive impact on the population,” said Venecia Guzmán, Councilor of San Pedro.
The topic of the challenges for each city will be available on the website starting October 1, and the submission of projects will begin that same day. Voting on the proposed projects will close on October 25. For more information, visit www.multicitychallenge.org or contact us at [email protected].