Skip to main content

Luján de Cuyo, Argentina

Bajo Luján’s Journey to New Housing.

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Environment, Equity, Health and Wellbeing, Infrastructure, Public Safety, Technology, Transportation

At a Glance


Relocated more than 1200 families who lived in flood-prone areas.


Created a workforce development initiative that employed residents, renovated public land and expanded access to recycling centers.


Improved access to territorial data, which made getting land permit data faster—going from months of waiting to just three clicks. The platform, Luján 3D, allows renovations and housing development to have substantial improvements.


Improved accessibility for residents with disabilities through an adapted bicycle program.

In 2016, a survey conducted by the city of Luján de Cuyo, Argentina, revealed a heartbreaking reality. There were about 3,500 families who lived in marginal or informal neighborhoods, of which 700 were concentrated in the Bajo Luján area, often without basic services. The most vulnerable residents lived near a flood-prone river, underscoring the urgency for change. As a result, the City developed an ambitious urbanization and relocation project, supported by the World Bank.

At the heart of the initiative was a resident-driven approach. Residents were surveyed to identify and prioritize needs, including proximity to employment, family size, and level of need to minimize disruption to their daily lives. Efforts to monitor the impact of this relocation were key. A survey and audit process was initiated, capturing residents’ experiences before, during and after the move. This data was visualized through PowerBI dashboards, allowing real-time tracking of project progress.

“Governing is making decisions. Doing it well requires exceptional use of data. If we intend to achieve real impact in the community, our public policies must be data-driven. We dream of becoming an international example of well-managed local government.”

Esteban Allasino, Mayor

The result was the construction of 700 homes in 11 neighborhoods.

This enormous initiative not only provided new homes, but restored a sense of human dignity and trust in government for those who had long been marginalized.

Seven hundred safe and practical homes is a significant achievement.

Additionally, the community intervened and regularized other settlements benefiting 500 families, completing a very ambitious stage that managed to reach more than 35% of the most vulnerable sector of the City.

But the government did not stop there. City leaders knew that housing is only one part of poverty. Thus, in an effort to create employment opportunities, the city turned its attention to residents who worked at the landfills as urban recyclers.

These families made a living collecting recyclable materials from garbage dumps. To help them, the following public policies were promoted: Closure and remediation of garbage dumps, Social inclusion of urban reclaimers, Inclusive Recycling Program – Centro Verde. In this way, the city, together with a group of neighbors, mainly women, officially formed a cooperative. The City provided land and necessary infrastructure.

The Fortress of My Earth, which now has nearly 30 members, launched a program that uses geographic information system (GIS) data to strategically place recycling bins throughout the city. This project successfully increased the number of Green Dots from 8 to 65, ensuring that residents could easily find a container within 500 meters of their homes. This caused a notable increase in recycling from 2021 to 2023.

The story doesn’t end there. In 2021, the City cut the ribbon on Luján Park,  located in the previously abandoned housing settlement Bajo Luján. The area has been transformed into a lively community space, with children’s play areas with equipment made from recycled plastic from the cooperative.

The Bajo Luján and Centro Verde projects reveal how intertwined initiatives can have an exponential impact on residents’ lives. They boosted citywide sustainability, helping hundreds of Luján de Cuyo residents achieve housing stability and financial independence and building much-needed trust in local government.

Join Our Certified Cities!

Rionegro, Colombia

Leveraging Data for Fiscal Sustainability

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Infrastructure, Public Safety, Transportation

At a Glance


Has one of the lowest unemployment rates for mid-sized cities in Colombia at 7.5% in 2023, compared to the national unemployment rate of 9.3% in 2023.


Created the Tax Intelligence Center (CIF), through which the City developed its internal data management capacity and increased tax revenue by USD $14,000 in 2022.


In 2021, improved public safety by increasing the number of cameras throughout the City from 65 to 337, which has corresponded to reductions in theft, sexual and domestic violence, and extortion.


Implemented a data-driven triage system for hospital emergency rooms, saving the city $377,500 USD in operating costs (a 91% decrease according to the Secretary of Family, Health, and Social Inclusion).

In recent decades, Rionegro, Colombia, has invested heavily in sectors to improve quality of life for residents, such as housing, sanitation and public spaces. However, this investment has come at a cost, and since 2017, the Rionegro government has operated with a budget deficit. At the same time, the population of Rionegro has grown and its economy has diversified. At the same time, Rionegro’s population has grown and its economy has diversified, and while these developments open opportunities for Rionegro, they also come with challenges.

 

In response, Rionegro created the Fiscal Intelligence Center (CIF). CIF is a comprehensive citywide initiative to use analytics and business intelligence to monitor, manage, evaluate and optimize Rionegro’s financial decisions, notably regarding taxes. Through this data-driven approach, the City is better able to combat tax evasion by using data to choose who to audit. CIF’s work to revamp tax collection is about more than making sure residents contribute their fair share—it aims to transform the culture through taxpayer outreach so that residents see themselves in Rionegro’s development and build trust in city government.

 

What are CIF’s results?

 

Rionegro’s industry and commerce revenues increased by 22% in 2022 and another 24% in 2023.

 

Residents and city staff alike understand that more revenue means more opportunities for the government to address issues that matter, such as employment, security, community projects and health care.

.

For instance, Rionegro struggled with overcrowded emergency rooms as residents, especially those from rural communities, flocked to emergency rooms with non-emergency needs. In 2022, Rionegro found that 93% of patients were admitted to emergency rooms for non-emergency services.

 

With strong data practices and increased revenue, Rionegro launched the Te Acompaño platform in coordination with other health service institutions. Te Acompaño helps redirect patients who might not need emergency services from emergency rooms and educate them on how to best seek alternate forms of care. Within the first year, the platform reached 8,000 users, helped improve health care resource savings by 91%, and saved the city’s health care system USD $377,500 in operations costs. In a resident survey, 93% of Te Acompaño users said they were satisfied with the service.

 

CIF is not a behind-the-scenes government initiative, it’s a program that directly impacts residents. From health care to mobility to employment, Rionegro’s residents are seeing how increased digitization and efficiency allow the City to provide better services and build trust with residents.

“With the commitment, support and coordination between the municipal administration and all the actors in the network, it will be possible to improve access and opportunity to health services.”

Felipe Puerta, former Secretary of Family, Health and Social Integration

Join Our Certified Cities!

Tres de Febrero, Argentina

Making Health Care the Starting Point of Community

Project Type:
Equity, Health & Wellness, High-Performing Government, Technology

At a Glance


15 minutes: The longest a resident in a target population needs to travel to reach a primary health center.


More than 50% of the local population is registered in the municipal public health system, with the proposed minimum goal being 35% (population with only public coverage).


Reduced emergency response time from an average of 60 minutes to 10 minutes, improving public safety and health outcomes.

There is a difference between having the right to health care and having access to health care.

In Argentina, health services are divided among levels of government, and while the country does have universal health care, many residents—especially vulnerable populations—lack access to critical health services. In the 24 municipalities that make up Greater Buenos Aires, 50% of people live in poverty and 54% do not have access to at least some public services.

Given this significant disparity in access, Tres de Febrero, a municipality of 350,000 in the Buenos Aires metro area, understood that it would take transformational change to solve its health care problem.

First, the City analyzed its community needs to identify a priority population of residents who lacked access to government-provided healthcare. The City embarked on an inside-out transformation of its health system with three strategies:

1) Digitize

  • Tres de Febrero invested in key digital infrastructure across its health services. This allowed the City to provide more efficient, more accurate and more user-friendly services for residents when they made appointments, filled prescriptions, got blood work, and more. Crucially, the City also transitioned from paper patient records to digital medical profiles, which directly improves patient care by enabling greater data sharing between health providers and faster access to information for patients. Through coordinated enrollment plans with the electronic registry, Tres de Febrero was able to reach a 100% enrollment rate.

2) Decentralize

  • A core challenge that Tres de Febrero faced was the distribution of its health services and primary care centers (CAPS). Using geographical data about its target population, the City built two new CAPS in strategic locations so that no one in the target population had to travel more than 15 minutes for primary care. They also increased the number of CAPS that could provide specialized services such as dentistry, gynecology and mental health care. For instance, in 2021, only one CAPS had a lab that could do blood tests. By 2023, all 14 centers could.

3) Revitalize

  • Previously, CAPS centers did not exemplify healthy community spaces. They were dilapidated, with exposed electrical wire, flaking paint and visible mold. Being in the buildings did not make residents feel good. Thus, the City renovated more than 14 health care facilities to improve quality of care.
Image courtesy of the Municipality of Tres de Febrero.

“It is not possible for me to pay for a gym membership, but I have been here every day to exercise because there is space to do so.”

Resident speaking about renovated public exercise space

The numbers in Tres de Febrero speak for themselves. The transformation has touched every branch of the City’s health system: emergency response times have dropped by 82%, lab results come in three days, not two weeks, and more than 450 medical professionals have participated in the city’s continuing training program.

This sweeping and dramatic improvement in how Tres de Febrero serves its residents was made possible by data. Tres de Febrero has done more than build health centers: It has created equitable community spaces that build trust in government, deepen community bonds and make lives better.

“As a neighbor, I can see the impact of using data to improve the lives of residents and the community.”

Ailén Gómez, Líder de Seguimiento

“Certification is a valuable tool for mayors. Using data and evidence adds value to strategic planning and increases your chances of success. Using data is essential but it is not enough. You also need to have empathy and political leadership is how you change people’s lives.”

Diego Valenzuela, Mayor

Join Our Certified Cities!

Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá’s Evidence-Based Approach to Empowering Caregivers

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Equity, Health and Wellbeing, Technology

At a Glance


The district administration built 21 Care Blocks, community centers that have provided support to more than 180,000 female caregivers and their families since January 2022.


Since its inception, the services of the Bogotá Care System have improved the lives of more than 546,500 women and their families. In 2023, it helped more than 550 women receive their high school diploma.


Through the Bogotá Public Innovation Laboratory – iBO, the Care Blocks are implementing new registration technology through a chatbot. The first stage managed to integrate more than 2,400 women to the system.


They successfully combined the use of data and feedback from residents to build a social support program that promotes economic mobility.

In a pioneering initiative aimed at supporting caregivers, Bogotá has successfully established 21 community centers throughout the city called Care Blocks.

During a visit from the What Works Cities Certification team to a Care Block in the Manitas neighborhood in the town of Ciudad Bolívar, which is considered a vulnerable area, the impact of the program was evident. As people danced and celebrated the Care Block’s third anniversary, caregivers expressed gratitude for the opportunity to receive support to improve their lives.

Care Blocks are designed to relieve the responsibilities and stress of caregiving. The goal is to allow caregivers to focus on other essential aspects of their lives that often get pushed aside due to their duties. All services provided are free, including community laundries. With these, more than 14,700 hours of care work were freed up for women, equivalent to 616 days.

According to the District Secretariat for Women, since January 2022, more than 180,000 female caregivers and their families have participated in the Care Blocks.

Image Courtesy of the City of Bogotá.

The District is actively involved in improving the program. Thanks to the Bogotá Public Innovation Laboratory – iBO, they are developing a system to register people in various activities offered in the Care Blocks, using a recently implemented chatbot to address queries and facilitate registrations. There are more than 2,100 engagements with the chatbot.

The results for residents and the emphasis of digitization and data have attracted the attention of leaders across the city and the country as a model to improve the lives of residents. Efforts are underway to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment and increase outreach.

Bogotá’s pioneering initiative highlights the cultural evolution around care. This model is proving to be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of caregivers throughout the city and a reference for other cities to follow.

“Here we can continue studying and fulfill our dreams. We [caretakers] are always told: ‘This is going to inhibit you and you will not be able to move forward,’ but this program really helps us a lot.”

Tatiana Guayara, San Cristóbal Care Block beneficiary (quote provided by the City)
Image Courtesy of the City of Bogotá.

“With this Certification it is evident that Bogotá has put data, technology and innovation at the center of government decisions on critical issues such as the District Care System, the environment and mobility. Our commitment is to continue with this effort, build on what has been built and continue promoting a conscious, responsible and strategic use of information to improve the quality of life of citizens.”

Carlos Fernando Galán Pachón, Mayor

550 caretakers have earned their high school diploma through Care Blocks

Join Our Certified Cities!

Recife, Brazil

Community Needs Lead in Recife

Project Type:
Education, Health and Wellbeing, High-Performing Government, Public Safety, Technology, Youth Development

At a Glance


15% drop in violence in neighborhoods covered by COMPAZ, more significant when compared to levels of violence throughout the City.


E.I.T.A! Recife, a City-run innovation lab, elevates and experiments with resident solutions to City challenges. More than 660,000 have tested these solutions.


Through an initiative to enable experimentation with digital solutions, the City reduced the time by 70% necessary to implement new solutions.


Development of a vaccination app for COVID-19 that registered 1.6 million users and allowed residents to receive vaccines in an orderly and safe manner, especially compared to vaccine uptake in Brazil overall.


It received resources for climate adaptation via a credit operation with the IDB, which will allow Recife to invest US$364 million in a social, territorial and climate justice initiative called ProMorar. It will be the largest urban resilience program in Brazil and guarantees decent housing for more than 150,000 people.

With an air of historic architecture and an incubator for startups and innovative research, Recife, Brazil, stands out for connecting tradition, modernity and technological expertise. However, Recife has historically had one of the highest levels of income inequality in the country, one of the main factors contributing to conditions that have led to high crime rates in the city. Ranked as the 22nd most dangerous city in the world, Recife recorded 55 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017.

To combat this violence, as well as drug trafficking, the City drew inspiration from other cities, even traveling to Medellín, Colombia (which successfully implemented a similar project) more than 40 times, to formulate and launch an innovative community center project, COMPAZ. COMPAZ offers a wide range of quality programs and services, from math classes to martial arts classes, to support crime and violence prevention efforts.

With COMPAZ, the city leverages neighborhood-level data and evidence to find and implement solutions by and for communities. Thus, Recife equitably and efficiently supports needy neighborhoods, addressing issues such as public safety and economic mobility with localized and targeted interventions.

“This helps us legitimize the vision that Recife has…when we make data-driven decisions, it leads us to the right solution. We have scarce resources, we need to prioritize allocation and maximize impacts. How can I reach more people with fewer resources?”

João Henrique Campos, Mayor
Image courtesy of the City of Recife.

Data-driven decision making is an integral part of COMPAZ. Using Recife’s open data portal, the city’s evaluation policy unit collaborates with academic institutions to collect data and evaluate program effectiveness, enabling the development of evidence-based policies and programs that provide solutions to issues revealed by the data. The results speak for themselves, with a 15% drop in violence in a COMPAZ neighborhood within four years of starting the project — a significant improvement over the city level, which remained stagnant during that same period.

Recife is not only implementing evidence-based programs like COMPAZ, but it is also at the forefront of innovation. That includes urban space in the city in a testing environment for innovations, making Recife the largest urban open innovation laboratory in Latin America, with an area of 218km². Open Innovation Cycles allow solutions developed by startups to be accelerated by the City Hall through a special contractual regime.Open Innovation Cycles recognize that there are challenges that the public sector cannot achieve alone – transformative solutions must be built with the end user, the resident. The ultimate goal is a city with more equal opportunities for everyone. So far, these innovation cycles have developed:

  • (I) algorithm for completing the electronic medical record integrated into public health systems;
  • (II) software for managing queues for free public health consultations and medical examinations; It is
  • (III) Internet of Things (IoT) sensing for flooding and rain in regions susceptible to disasters to generate real-time alerts and create operational protocols.

The population is at the center of innovative data-driven solutions in Recife. This approach allowed us to tailor policies and programs to the specific needs of the community, using data to determine where resources are most needed and identify opportunities for success.

“We are not reinventing the wheel, we are eager to learn from other cities, from other teams. What works for other cities, we try to adapt to ours.”

João Henrique Campos, Mayor
Image courtesy of the City of Recife.

Join Our Certified Cities!

Medellín, Colombia

Medellín’s Data Breakthrough Reduces Teen Pregnancy by 54%

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Equity, Health and Wellbeing, Technology

At a Glance


Invested significantly in data infrastructure during the pandemic, resulting in increasing the number of intensive care units from 300 to 1000.


In 2020, there were 3,792 teenage pregnancies. As of November 2023, that number was 1,743.


More than 626 public datasets and 61 open data dashboards and visualizations.


Pico y Placa traffic program reduced road congestion by 50%.

Latin America is a region with one of the highest rates of underage pregnancy in the world, and Medellín, Colombia, is not immune to the trend. In 2020, 40 in every 1,000 teenage girls became pregnant in the city of 2.5 million.

Teenage pregnancy comes with higher health risks for the mother and child, severely impedes economic mobility and has well-documented social costs. A few years ago, Medellín’s data related to teenage pregnancy lived under the umbrella of the Health Department. Yet, teenage pregnancy is influenced by health, social, economic and cultural factors—data in a silo meant Medellín was missing the big picture.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Medellín leadership recognized that the City needed significant and rapid investment in data. Former Mayor Daniel Quintero created the Digital Innovation Secretariat in September 2020, which prioritized investing in data infrastructure and innovation, and set the stage for lasting culture change. At the same time, the City laid out its strategic priorities in a development plan that included a focus on health. A reduction in the pregnancy rate of adolescents 10 to 19 years old was chosen as a key health indicator.

From there, the solution happened in three stages:

  1. Modernizing data management. City leaders transformed how the government manages data. The process of creating a centralized repository of data started with knocking on department doors asking for Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoints and other files with stored data. It took “plenty of love and plenty of patience,” said team member Julio Cesar Mendoza. But the labor of love was worth it: Now the City has access to essential insights into every policy and program.
  2. Co-creating solutions. Next, leaders from various government departments and community organizations held sessions to determine the best metrics to track and strategies to try to prevent teen pregnancy, including disaggregating data by neighborhood, age, marital status, education level and more (such as whether the mother had subsequent pregnancies.) Based on the data, this group found that schools were the most effective place to focus pregnancy prevention efforts, and that educating and empowering school-aged children would be critical to reducing early motherhood.
  3. Engaging the Community. These findings sparked a comprehensive community engagement campaign. Most significantly this includes the “I Decide When” campaign, a strategy across 11 city departments that focuses on the social determinants of teenage pregnancy and uses data to dictate tactics. For instance, there is a chatbot for sex education. Additionally, the City held a contest for schools to come up with ideas to prevent teenage pregnancy. The winning school was in a neighborhood with a high rate of adolescent pregnancy.
Image Courtesy of the City of Medellín.

Today, Medellín’s efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy continue. And with its strong data foundation, the City is committed to making headway on other policy priorities, such as reducing child malnutrition and expanding universal education. Learn more about how data is changing lives in Medellín.

“Our ultimate goal and obligation as public servants is the improvement of the quality of life of our citizens. Thus, when we identified a gap between the speed at which the city and citizens were progressing with data versus how the government was advancing, we began this entire transformation process.”

Ana Maria Valencia Cáceres, Subsecretaría de Ciudad Inteligente de la Secretaría Innovación Digital

“We created all the infrastructure and investment to increase internal capacity in terms of innovation: the Digital Innovation Secretary, technology and specifically increased capacity for data use.”

Mayor Óscar de Jesús Hurtado Pérez

5% of City revenue is allocated each year to projects chosen by residents in Medellín’s participatory budgeting process.

Join Our Certified Cities!

Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA

Public Transportation Steered By Data

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Environment, Health and Wellbeing, Transportation

At a Glance


The percentage of residents who report using public transportation has more than doubled since their fare-free, all-electric public buses began in 2019.


More than 700 alumni of a 10-week civics course provided to residents by the City.


Increasing tree canopy by planting three trees for every one tree the City cuts down.

Rock Hill, SC, tried public transportation in the 1990s. It wasn’t a roaring success; people didn’t know about it and ridership was low. However, in 2015 a Winthrop University survey found that 80% of respondents identified transportation as a top need. With that data point, Mayor John Gettys knew it was time to give public transportation another go.

Data was a guiding force from the start. The City paired the survey with qualitative data from focus groups that also said fixed-route transit would minimize barriers and provide opportunities to residents. With the need established, choosing routes and schedules were the next items on the agenda. Again, the City leaned on resident feedback, partnering with United Way to hold interest meetings. At the same time, regional planning associations used census data and maps to plot routes that would most benefit residents who needed it most. For instance, they didn’t just look at neighborhood density, they looked at where residents without cars lived, and they made sure that routes passed parks, shopping centers, health care facilities and other places residents recommended.

Image Courtesy of the City of Rock Hill.

“The reason we accomplish big things is that we use data to drive decisions, something the City has done consistently over the last 20 years. I think being strategic and utilizing data to solve challenges attracts good representatives who want to come in and do big things, good things for our community.”

John Gettys, Mayor

“Basing decisions on data can minimize the vitriol of partisan politics, it’s an antidote to a lot of the divide we see in our country today.”

John Gettys, Mayor

My Ride not only improves accessibility, it’s making a more sustainable Rock Hill. The fleet of 10 buses are all electric and produced in South Carolina. The buses reduced about 337 metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions compared to diesel buses in just their first year, they’re also quieter for riders and cost less to operate.

Data guided My Ride’s funding decisions as well. Evidence showed that it was cost-prohibitive to collect fares, and city leadership knew how much the buses contributed to accessibility. Thus, the buses are fare-free. Federal Transit Authority (FTA) funds help meet the majority of the costs, the rest is covered by the City and partner organizations.

As My Ride’s success grows, so too do the City’s ambitious goals for the bus system. When the program started, their ridership goal was 4,100 passenger trips per week—a goal they met in less than two months. Despite the plunge in ridership due to the pandemic, ridership has bounced back. In FY23, My Ride’s monthly ridership goal was 16,400. They averaged 20,839 passenger trips per month. And they did all of those rides with only three customer complaints the whole year.

This isn’t the end of the line for My Ride. The four, hour-long routes already serve about two-thirds of city residents, and the City is constantly collecting feedback and setting goals for improvement. For example, in 2023 My Ride began to serve additional areas on the existing routes and improved system efficiency.

Join Our Certified Cities!

New York City, New York, USA

A Data-Driven Process to Reach Net Zero Emissions: Climate Budgeting

Project Type:
Health and Wellbeing, High-Performing Government, Youth Development

At a Glance


100% of City agencies have already submitted emissions impact data with all capital project budget requests


April 2024: When NYC will publish its first Climate Budget.


$4 billion: Amount the City will invest in a school electrification plan, which will contribute a 3% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from government operations.

Climate Budgeting to Help Reach Zero Net Emissions

New York City has a goal to reach net-zero emissions citywide by 2050.

To reach that goal, city leaders must put data at the heart of day-to-day operations. One way the City is doing this is through a new municipal climate budget. As part of the climate budget, the City bolstered requirements for capital project budget requests to include projected emissions data, which are now being met by 100 percent of city agencies, contributing to a 27 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from government operations.

“Climate budgeting is a significant shift in how we think about the value of tax dollars and their potential to power change. It’s the only way to use every budgeting decision to bring our climate ambitions to life. There’s no time to waste.”

Eric Adams, Mayor

Climate budgeting is a governance system that mainstreams climate targets and considerations into decision-making through the budget process and aligns the City’s resources with its climate goals. It is a paradigm shift from the traditional budget process to a holistic approach that considers the impact of every dollar the City spends on meeting its climate goals.

NYC’s climate budgeting is a core component of the City’s strategic climate plan announced in 2023 and is being led by New York City’s Office of Management and Budget, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice (MOCEJ).

An early example of climate budgeting can be seen in the “Leading the Charge” initiative, a $4 billion plan now in motion, to ensure newly constructed schools will be all-electric and 100 existing schools will begin to phase out fossil fuel heating systems. The initiative will prioritize schools in low-income as well as predominantly Black and Brown communities which are particularly vulnerable to environmental injustices such as elevated rates of childhood asthma. The electrification plan illustrates how NYC is using emissions data to combat climate change and disaggregated demographic data to promote equitable health outcomes.


How else has NYC become a more data-driven government?

As one of the first big cities in the U.S. to adopt climate budgeting, New York City is showing how new decision-making processes can deliver urgently needed change. 

In 2024, it will implement a formal climate budgeting intake form for agency budget requests and publish its first Climate Budget alongside the Executive Budget. The Climate Budget will include a citywide greenhouse gas emissions forecast showing progress toward the 2050 net-zero goal, as well as data that shows how capital project plans could affect climate goals such as air quality and heat and flooding resilience. The 100% compliance rate across departments is a positive sign for standardizing climate budget processes and understanding the City’s emissions.

Does climate budgeting make funding decisions more complex? Yes. But the initiative is worth it. It allows New York City to understand the climate impact of dollars spent and then rally around forward-looking projects aligned to must-reach goals.

“By using a data-driven decision approach, our administration is delivering results for New Yorkers in the most efficient and equitable way possible. Data is more than just a spreadsheet — it is a tool to help government better improve services that impact the daily lives of residents. I’m proud that New York City is recognized as an international leader in operations and look forward to continuing to use data to improve the lives of New Yorkers.”

Sheena Wright, First Deputy Mayor

Carlsbad, California, USA

Data and a Cross-Sector Approach Lead to Street Safety in Carlsbad.

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Finance, Health and Wellbeing, Infrastructure, Public Safety, Transportation

At a Glance


Using road collision heatmaps and other data to inform interventions, the City saw a 19% decrease in all injury collisions.


Monitored progress and changed course when needed to achieve traffic goals using Performance & Analytics strategies.


City’s staff telecommuting policy reduced employee commute time by 47,000 hours and saved the City between $300,000 – $400,000. It has also improved traffic conditions for all city residents and eliminated 424 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.


Budget and finance processes require data and alignment with the city’s 5-Year Strategic Plan, to ensure funds are efficiently and effectively allocated to address the most important priorities of the community.

The number of collisions involving bikes and e-bikes was already surging in Carlsbad when, in August 2022, two bikers were killed during a 10-day period. The City had issued an ordinance on e-bike safety a few months before, but the tragedies and an alarming 233% increase in collisions involving bike and e-bikes between 2019 and 2022 promoted greater action. City Manager Scott Chadwick declared a 6-month local emergency, which was ratified by the City Council at its next meeting. The emergency allowed the City flexibility to move quickly and focus resources on encouraging everyone to be safer on the road.

Some residents worried that the emergency declaration would lead to less access for bikes or more traffic. But Chadwick was able to reassure them. “We’re going to let the data guide us,” he said. And that is exactly what they did.

Immediately after declaring the emergency, the City began gathering and analyzing additional data on collisions. They created heatmaps to identify the most dangerous intersections, did a 5-year trend analysis, and set up tracking for the future. Armed with data and streamlined procurement processes as part of the emergency declaration, the City was painting key intersections and bike lanes with high-visibility green paint within two weeks. In fact, they moved so fast that they exhausted the supply of green paint in the region.

Within 30 days of the emergency declaration, the City had a full plan in place for improving street safety. The Safer Streets Together Plan seeks to change public behaviors and attitudes by focusing on education, engineering and enforcement. “It wasn’t just, ‘Here’s an emergency.’ The public saw real things happening in the first weeks and months and that’s how this has changed things so quickly,” Chief Innovation Officer David Graham said.

Six months after declaring an emergency, injury collisions across all transportation modes were down by 19% compared to the same time period in the previous year, and injury collisions related to bikes and e-bikes had decreased 13%. Graham points to qualitative measures of success as well – street safety yard signs and car window clings on display throughout the community, residents saying they are wearing helmets and slowing down, and the city’s partnerships with schools and bike organizations.

Because of the positive trends and evidence of behavior change, in March 2023 the City Council voted to extend the emergency declaration for a few more months. City staff hope that a year’s worth of data and analysis will help build a sustainable approach to traffic safety and that the early positive trends will become permanent.

The traffic safety emergency is not the first emergency that Carlsbad has tackled with data-driven decision making. It took a similar and equally successful approach during COVID. Hopefully the City won’t have cause for testing its emergency response again anytime soon, but having a well-honed system for collecting and analyzing data, and for innovating and tracking outcomes means that no matter what the future holds, Carlsbad will be well prepared to handle it.

“To see transformation in government you have to invest in areas that aren’t readily apparent like data and analytics, process improvement and operational excellence. When we work together with our community to discover shared insights around issues like traffic safety, we can create impactful change.”

David Graham, Chief Innovation Officer

It’s not easy to change the way people behave on the road. Often, you’re trying to change habits people have had for years or decades, for better or worse. By taking a balanced approach to traffic safety and digging into the data, we can see what’s working and what isn’t working, and learn how to be more effective as we move forward.

Scott Chadwick, City Manager

Join Our Certified Cities!

Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil

Where Urban Planning is for the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Health and Wellbeing, Infrastructure, Parks and Recreation, Youth Development

At a Glance


Created Participa Mogi – an online platform for citizen participation. In its first year, the City received over 1,300 public contributions.


When employment data showed that 25% of Mogi workers were commuting outside of the City, Mogi added 7,000 new jobs in 2022 and increased revenue by 33% ($700 million BRL).


To combat hunger, Mogi das Cruzes created the Social Market Program, which connects farmers to over 1,200 families in vulnerable situations to receive free food.


Deployed innovative Qualitative Data Practices to better understand residents’ needs.

Mogi das Cruzes has found a winning combination. The City of more than 470,000 in São Paulo State is setting itself up for success by using data and community engagement as the foundation of its strategic plan.

Part of this plan includes giving the mic to Mogi’s youngest residents. Mogi das Cruzes wants to be a child-centered city. City officials are asking children for ideas for improving their neighborhoods so that the next generation engages with their government and community. In December 2022, Mogi announced its first “Our Neighborhood Detectives.” Between the ages of 9 and 12, these 24 children will participate in discussions and make suggestions about how to improve the quality of life and urban landscape for all children and adults living in Mogi.

“These boys and girls will represent the children in their neighborhoods and help us create a better city. Their input is an important complement to our data that will improve our decision-making and inspire civic engagement in young people.”

Caio Cunha, Mayor
Image Courtesy of Warley Kenji.

The Neighborhood Detectives project is part of the Mogi Cidade da Criança (City of Children) program, which uses an innovative community engagement and design approach to inform the City’s investments in the wellbeing of its children. Another project within Mogi Cidade da Criança is monitoring air quality for its impact on children’s health. The air quality data is used to make decisions and create action plans, such as enhancing green spaces and encouraging active mobility to reduce emissions.

In addition to engaging its children in planning, the City seeks feedback from residents through regional meetings and neighborhood visits. By thoughtfully and rigorously soliciting resident input, the City is able to use this qualitative data to deepen community impact and better serve residents’ needs. For instance, the City asked for resident feedback about public transportation by conducting surveys in-person on the bus. Bus users were interviewed and the resulting data was used to optimize bus routes.

Mogi das Cruzes also created the Participia Mogi platform for residents to provide input on planning and budget priorities online. The City is opening its internal data up to residents as well, by hosting Open Data Days and making geospatial data available on the GeoMogi website.

“Staff perceive the need to use data in their day-to-day and Certification is helping with this culture shift. Once you have this cultural shift, you can’t go back.”

Caio Cunha, Mayor
Image Courtesy of Warley Kenji.

Additionally, under the guidance of Mayor Cunha, the formula of data and resident input is being used to create a long-term, 40-year plan for the City. The ultimate success of the plan requires institutionalizing recent progress on collecting, managing and analyzing the City’s data. The Mayor’s hope is that residents will expect future administrations to continue the shared vision within a long-term plan: “We wanted this to be a plan for everyone, so we are building a sustainable program that represents the needs of the City as a whole, for today and for the next generation of Mogi residents.”

Join Our Certified Cities!

Disclaimer