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Porto Alegre, Brazil

Data Story Coming Soon!

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Dallas, Texas, USA

An All-In Approach to More Equitable Budget Decisions

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

At a Glance


Used disaggregated data to drive budget decisions that address inequities based on race and/or income. All 42 city departments contributed to the establishment of over 220 metrics that are tracked publicly through the Racial Equity Plan, of which $40 million was allocated towards equity investments.


Launched the first Spanish-language 311 mobile app of any big city in Texas.


Reduced the number of steps in the procurement process from 82 to 23, speeding up the time it takes the city to purchase goods and services.

City leaders in Dallas know that if you want to get something done in local government, the budget is a good place to start. So when they took on the goal of creating a more equitable city, that’s exactly what they did.

The result is a process Dallas calls Budgeting for Equity. Rooted in sophisticated data practices, it’s one of the most robust City Hall systems in place anywhere for identifying and addressing disparities.

The effort began in 2019, with publication of the Dallas Equity Indicators report. The report measured equity across 60 social and economic indicators, from business ownership to home loan denials to kindergarten readiness. It also provided baseline data for local leaders to track citywide equity changes over time.

Next, eight departments used the equity indicators to identify disparities and change budgets to address them. For example, the 311 customer service center noticed that wait times were longer for Spanish-speaking residents. In response, the department hired bilingual staff and recently became the first big city in Texas to launch a Spanish-language 311 mobile app.

Budgeting for Equity has since expanded across all of city government. It’s led by the Office of Equity & Inclusion –in collaboration with the Office of Budget Management Services which guides the City’s 42 departments as they use a tool the Office created to help them prioritize equity in their budgets. Departments are required to use disaggregated data so they can spot disparities within the services they provide by race, ethnicity, age and other factors. They also must consider how their budgets may produce both positive and negative impacts in communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods.

“It’s easy to talk about the ways we’re helping people,” says Dr. Lindsey Wilson, Dallas’ Director of Equity & Inclusion. “But how are we also burdening communities? We need to not only talk about the good things but also the not-so-good things that data is telling us.”

What makes Dallas’ efforts stand out from what other cities are doing is its thoroughness. Budgeting for Equity is not an occasional activity for a handful of departments at a time — in Dallas, every department does it every year. The process is aligned with a comprehensive Racial Equity Plan the City Council adopted in 2022, which includes a set of “Big Audacious Goals” meant to guide implementation of that plan; progress is continually tracked in a public dashboard. Individual departments in charge of libraries, arts and culture, planning, and water, have earned recognition from their own industry organizations. 

“Each year we hear from departments about adjustments we need to make,” Dr. Wilson says, noting that the number of questions departments are asked to answer through Budgeting for Equity has been reduced from ten to five to reduce burdens on them. “The one thing that never changed was the use of data to drive the outcomes.”


60 citywide measures included in Dallas’ Equity Indicators Report


3,203 individuals and 284 organizations were directly engaged in creation of the Racial Equity Plan.


5 “Big Audacious Goals” in the Racial Equity Plan

“If we continue to strengthen and hold ourselves accountable for this work, we should see disparities decrease and begin to see transformative change.”

Dr. Lindsey Wilson, Director Dallas Office of Equity & Inclusio
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San Pedro Garza García, Mexico

Data Makes A Resident Service Platform Go From Good to Great

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

At a Glance


Evaluated the City’s resident services chatbot, found room for improvement and made changes that reduced response times by 50% and saved $8.5 million


Visited 9,000 homes in 18 priority neighborhoods to interview caregivers about what services they needed. Services included transportation, grocery assistance and weekly breaks from caregiving. On average, caregivers in the resulting program reported a 30-point improvement in well-being after five weeks.


In response to feedback from caregivers, the City created—and then expanded—a mini public transportation route with 14 stops.


Reduced park maintenance costs by centralizing park management with a public-private partnership.

In February 2020, San Pedro Garza García launched a WhatsApp-based, resident service chatbot called Sam Petrino, or “Sam” for short. Previously the City received service requests – about potholes, broken street lights, overflowing garbage bins and more – by phone, through its website or in person at City Hall. But the Office of Innovation and Citizen Participation believed more residents would engage if they could use WhatsApp, the most common communication platform in Mexico.

They were right. Within two weeks of its launch, Sam was receiving more reports than any of the other reporting methods. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Sam’s purpose evolved. The City expanded Sam to include options for requesting food assistance or other support, reporting domestic violence, making donations or volunteering, and, eventually, registering for vaccines. By the end of 2020, Sam was averaging over 1,000 reports each month and gaining international acclaim, including receiving the National Institute of Transparency’s Innovation Award.

The City could have called Sam a success and shifted into autodrive. But, in 2021, data showed that Sam was not working as well as it could. The flood of new reports was creating internal problems, response times were slow, resident satisfaction was dropping, and the data being gathered through the chatbot was stuck in silos. The City interviewed staff, reviewed processes and made changes.

The entire government is, so to speak, connected to the bot.

Mayor Miguel Treviño de Hoyos

The City made 15 improvements to the Sam Petrino chatbot.

The City re-engineered Sam, making more than 15 improvements. Now, Sam is fully automated and digitized, internal reporting operations have been streamlined, and the public has clear accountability channels. Data from Sam is reliably gathered, shared across departments and publicly, and used in decision making.

The result: Despite 110% more citizen service reports submitted in 2023 than in 2019, the City responded 8.6 times faster – sometimes within hours – with the same amount of staff and the same amount of funding. Citizen satisfaction with Sam and the City’s response to service requests has increased from 67% before the changes to 84% after the changes were implemented. The majority of City staff also approve of the new internal processes behind Sam, which have helped foster accountability and recognition for those responding to the reports.

The City’s willingness to listen to the data, its residents and staff allowed it to see that even award-winning innovations can be improved. It’s a successful approach San Pedro Garza García is now broadly applying to better serve its residents.

What I would tell all other mayors is, ‘If your resources are scarce – which they are – you have to understand what you are achieving with these resources. And the only way to do that is to measure what you are doing.’

Mayor Miguel Treviño de Hoyos

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.

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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

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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

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Port St. Lucie, Florida

Residents Tag Mobility as Priority. Port St. Lucie Uses Data to Deliver.

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

At a Glance


In 2023, launched a newly formatted Port St. Lucie Stat program, moving from an annual review of operations to quarterly reviews. 


Collects resident input through an annual Citizen Summit and National Community SurveyTM.


In response to resident demand for better mobility options, the City  developed and found funding streams to support a Sidewalk Master Plan, Multimodal Plan and Mobility Plan.


Anticipating new jobs bringing over 9 million sq. ft. of new office, retail, research and industrial developments, the City created a jobs corridor with public art and green space requirements.

Port St. Lucie is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, adding more than 35,000 new residents in the past three years. This rapid growth comes with benefits and challenges. But, with the help of data and resident input, the Mayor, City Council and staff are successfully managing today’s growth and planning for the future. 

At the heart of their efforts is Port St. Lucie’s strategic plan. First developed in 2013, the plan is updated annually to reflect residents’ priorities as gathered at the #IAMPSL Citizen Summit and through a National Community Survey(NCS)TM. The City strives to make the Citizen Summit fun and easy for residents to attend – approximately 800 people came in 2023. The NCSTM takes a different approach for reaching residents. Run by the National Research Center at Polco, the survey is sent to a scientifically random sampling of households. 

For several years now, residents have made it clear – at both the Citizen Summit and through the NCSTM – that improving mobility around the city should be a priority. In 2023, only 4 in 10 residents said it was easy to walk around the city and even fewer thought it was easy to bike or use public transit. These findings are not necessarily surprising. Port St. Lucie was developed as a retirement community in the 1960s and included few sidewalks. But, in line with resident feedback, the City has made adding more sidewalks a key infrastructure priority in its strategic plan. 

In 2017, the City Council approved an enhanced  10-year Sidewalk Master Plan to add 35 miles of sidewalks, particularly on streets within a two-mile radius of schools, and to create a network of connected sidewalks. Progress on the plan has been helped by a resident-approved half-cent sales tax increase for infrastructure projects. As with its other strategic goals, the City tracks its performance on the Sidewalk Master Plan on a public dashboard. It also recently revamped its Port St. Lucie Stat program to meet quarterly and to align with best practices on strategic planning and establishing performance metrics. This allows the Public Works and Police Departments to better collaborate on mobility solutions in response to traffic data. The Police Department also has a Stat program in place as part of their data-informed approach.

In 2022, the City installed 4.9 miles of new sidewalks and repaved 49.94 miles of roads.

And the City has not stopped with the Sidewalk Master Plan. In 2021, it began exploring multimodal planning as a way to increase sidewalk connectivity, expand transit coverage, reduce congestion, and accelerate street repairs and improvements. State legislation allows local governments with multimodal plans to collect flexible mobility fees on new developments instead of road-specific impact fees. The City adopted both a Multimodal Plan and a Mobility Plan in order to access this flexible funding. As of September 2023, the City had collected $22 million in mobility fees to invest in projects that will have the biggest impact for current and future residents. 

“The City of Port St. Lucie has a strategic plan to bring the City towards an even better future. Each year, our nationally award-winning planning process begins with listening to the input and ideas of Port St. Lucie residents. Through this process, residents can truly help shape the future of their City.”

Kate Parmelee, Deputy City Manager for Strategic Initiatives & Innovation

“Basically everything we do here is based on our strategic plan.”

Shannon Martin, Mayor

According to the U.S. News & World Report #2 safest city to live in the U.S.

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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.

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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

Córdoba, Argentina

From Paper to Digital in 3.5 Years.

Project Type:
Community Engagement, Environment, Equity, Housing, Infrastructure, Public Safety, Technology

At a Glance


Three and a half years ago, Córdoba did not have any digital processes and used paper for nearly everything. Today, the City has a data governance practice and more than 100 out of 275 identified processes are digital.


88% of the people that uses the health system now have their medical records digitalized.


VeDi App, launched in 2019, has more than 1.1 million users, 70% of Córdoba’s population.


18,000 residents have been trained in digitization courses to reduce the digital gap, of which 80% are women.

In 2019, when Córdoba, Argentina, Mayor Martin Llaryora entered office with a mandate to improve data-led practices, the City of 1.6 million had a small budget and operated almost entirely on paper. For residents of this vast city, which covers an area more than three times the size of Buenos Aires, this meant frequent trips to municipal offices and bureaucratic struggles to address simple issues. 

Córdoba transformed this experience quickly by creating a data governance practice. That allowed the City to prioritize 275 procedures that could make lives easier for residents, such as obtaining driving licenses and building approvals. Mayor Llaryora is most proud of the City’s Citizen App, used by more than 1.1 million people — about 70% of the population. The app lets residents file claims and generates valuable data about problems around the City, helping officials focus resources on issues important to their residents, such as waste, lighting and traffic signals.

“This is an example of hope for Latin America because although we have a very low budget, we were able to develop a smart city.”

Martin Llayora, Mayor

Córdoba has also made progress in adopting digital tools in public health policies. Different community vaccination strategies are now digitalized on the basis of Epidemiology records or the “Mejorar” free electronic prescription program. This online provision and authorization system meant a change in the public drug dispensing system.

Along with its digital efforts, Córdoba is making progress to reduce the digital gap, particularly among women, with Corlab, the city’s Innovation Lab that offers training programs for residents. Through its “Menos Brecha, Más Comunidad” program, out of the 18,000 citizens who have been trained, 80% are women. For a city with a tight budget, adopting the cloud has been doubly beneficial: simplifying processes and eliminating paper waste has saved more than 3.5 billion Argentine pesos across 22 City departments and agencies.

This rapid digital conversion delivers more than savings for the City, it’s a transformation with far-reaching consequences—from everyday services like trash pickup and traffic lights—to the times when residents count on their government the most.

We have the data to know that we are going down the right track. The data is not there to punish you, it’s there to help you course correct.

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Buenos Aires,
Argentina

Public Policies Based on Data Lead to Significant Decrease in Infant Mortality

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

At a Glance


39% decline in the infant mortality rate between 2016 and 2022.


15 minutes: the maximum time it takes for a resident to reach a community healthcare center.


300 individual metrics are being tracked to support the quality and reliability of 115 public services.


100% of Buenos Aires community health centers now operate with electronic medical charts.


The City now has a thorough data strategy, clear evidence-based policies, 30 executive dashboards, and more than 4,300 indicators after creating the Undersecretariat for Evidence-Based Public Policies and the General Directorate of Monitoring and Evaluation.

Reducing the Infant Mortality Rate

Improving the infant mortality rate in Buenos Aires, which was 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016, required a multi-pronged strategy, especially because the hospitals and doctors offices are run by public and private entities as well as social security. Additionally, the strategy was not just medical—it required the coordinated approach of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Human Development and Habitat to carry out policies that considered both medical and social implications.

Effective solutions to complex and urgent problems require more than passion and good ideas. City leaders need the right data to illuminate the depth and breadth of an issue; that is what sets the stage for smart public policy.

Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor

The City, which had already worked to build a data-driven culture, took another step forward by implementing electronic medical records in all health and community action centers (CeSACs), collecting healthcare data from across Buenos Aires to better identify at-risk pregnant women and develop integrated interventions to both strengthen health services and create targeted solutions. Specific goals were established:

  • Make healthcare more accessible so that every resident has a community healthcare center less than 15 minutes from their home.
  • All women would receive at least five checkups over the course of a pregnancy and seven pediatric consultations during the baby’s first year.
  • Promote the healthy development of vulnerable children between 45 days and 3 years old through 76 early childhood centers.

With these clear, measurable targets and the increase in higher quality data, all of the goals had been reached by 2022. Additionally, the City reached their goals with an emphasis on transparency: Buenos Aires’ General Directorate of Statistics and Censuses allowed residents to have transparent and reliable access to data as well as a way to monitor and evaluate progress on the measures the City was taking to improve healthcare.


How else has Buenos Aires become a more data-driven government? 

  • Digitized and streamlined their procurement system and made data on city contracts open and accessible.
  • BOTI, the first city-developed chatbot for WhatsApp in the world, had 59 million conversations with residents in 2022. 
  • Developed “green streets” to create more natural space for pedestrian enjoyment and capture stormwater.
  • Created a 3D model of the City to aid neighborhood development and make it easier to see regulations and codes. 

The Ministry of Health constructed seven new health care centers and renovated 10 others. Pregnant women were given priority when making appointments online for primary care visits. Targeted campaigns involving workshops, at-work training and seminars—on subjects including sleeping and eating habits—had reached 7,000 families considered to be highly vulnerable. And the overall impact was clear: The City of Buenos Aires reduced its infant mortality rate by 39% from 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016, to 4.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022. 

Buenos Aires’ progress on maternal care and infant health is just one example of how the City’s commitment to improve data quality, quantity and practices is bearing fruit. But a 39% decrease in infant mortality rate is more than a success story for the City of Buenos Aires—it’s a number that represents the prevention of heartbreaking losses in scores of families—and incalculable joy as families watch their children grow up.  

We have a limited time to transform reality—and data-driven governance can accelerate positive change. By having shared standards and rules for data management, we create a common understanding and language, powering day-to-day change.”

Melisa Breda, Undersecretary of Evidence-Based Public Policy

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