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Porto Alegre, Brazil

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Mendoza, Argentina

Using AI to Tackle Unregulated Landfills

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

At a Glance


Used an AI-powered digital tool to identify small but harmful garbage dumps scattered around the city.


Created a Directorate of Digital Transformation, Smart Cities and Open Government to take advantage of data and make better decisions.


Built dashboards for data on commercial activity and entrepreneurship, waste recycling, public safety, and more after seeing the power of collating data during the pandemic.


Making progress toward 2030 climate goals through innovations from the Municipal Climate Change Committee, which is made up of the Secretary of Environment and Urban Development, science and technical organizations, universities, the Institute of Environmental Sciences, and more.

Like many cities, Mendoza has a problem with illegal dumping, particularly in marginalized neighborhoods near the foothills of the Andes. These small piles of trash pose major risks to water quality and public health. However, they are not always easy to see: many of the spill sites are small and hidden in ravines.

City leaders are now using artificial intelligence to locate and clean these micro-landfills. In collaboration with the Bunge and Born Foundation, Mendoza developed an algorithm that used drone photography to detect landfills as small as one square meter. The initiative is part of a broader effort to use data to make smart decisions related to climate change and the environment.

In just one part of the city, the tool found 1,573 detected trash tags. The algorithm can also identify whether the material in these piles is plastic, branches, construction debris, or something else. This gives city leaders a plan to direct their cleanup efforts, impacting and improving quality of life. of 2,000 families in 19 neighborhoods.

Recognizing the global need for such a tool, the team behind the technology has released the code and it has presented to cities throughout Argentina. And to make it replicable, they have adapted the algorithm so that it can use free images from Google Earth, instead of drone photography, which can be expensive. They believe the same approach could be used to detect other environmental hazards on the urban periphery, such as deforestation.

“Managing open dumps is an enormous management challenge for national, provincial and local governments,” said the Secretary of Environment from Mendoza, Sebastián Fermani. “Not only because of pollution and climate change issues, but also because it is a problem that disproportionately affects the vulnerable population.”

“Local governments may not have the resources of a regional or provincial government, but through data-driven decisions, we can generate a better climate and investment to create jobs and economic development.”

Mayor Ulpiano Leandro Suarez
Comparison of detection of small dumpsites by AI versus humans.

Used AI to identify and classify 1,573 small dumpsites in just one section of the city.

“What Works Cities Certification is both a recognition of the work done by a great team here, and also shows us how we can improve city management based on international standards.”

Mayor Ulpiano Leandro Suarez

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Guatemala City, Guatemala

Improving the Quality of Life in Neighborhoods Through Public Space, Resident Participation and Preventive Security

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

At a Glance


44% reduction in criminal activity (on average) in 2019 compared to 2016 in six neighborhoods prioritized through the program Prosperous Neighborhood. 12% reduction in crime victims and 26% increase in the perception of security in the Próspero San José La Chácara neighborhood in 2022.


More than 275,000 residents benefitted directly or indirectly from the Prosperous Neighborhood between 2017 to 2023.


Residents of all ages created 1,216 drawings of their ideal neighborhood in the Neighborhood of Your Dreams workshops. These drawings informed the design of public space improvements.


In a 2023 survey, 90% of respondents in the Próspero San José La Chácara neighborhood said that improving public spaces contributes to improving relations between neighbors.

The preventive security and protection of a neighborhood is strengthened when residents feel empowered to improve and control public spaces. This simple but powerful idea is a fundamental premise of Guatemala City’s Prosperous Neighborhood Program, promoted by Mayor Ricardo Quiñónez, which combines data analysis and resident participation to increase safety and improve quality of life in neighborhoods in this growing city. The Prosperous Neighborhood Program, implemented by the Municipality of Guatemala, with the support of the Embassy of the United States of America in Guatemala and the Government of Guatemala, focuses on three main areas:

  1. Work in the neighborhood to revitalize and improve public spaces that promote social gatherings, recreation, and community events.
  2. Increasing civic participation of residents, through training, social, cultural, recreational and economic strengthening programs.
  3. Collaboration between police and the community to improve security, promoting peaceful coexistence and order.
Inauguration of the Lavarreda Community Kiosk with Mayor Ricardo Quiñónez, representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, National Civil Police and residents. Image Courtesy of Guatemala City.

The first step was to identify where to start the program. In 2016, with the support of the Ministry of the Interior, the National Civil Police and other government agencies, Mayor Ricardo Quiñónez’s delegates identified the six municipal areas with the highest crime rates. These six zones comprise 38% of the city’s area and are home to 64% of its population.  Subsequently, the program team identified the areas where there was the highest concentration of criminal acts in each area. For the first phase of the program (2017-2019), six neighborhoods with high population concentration adjacent to these areas with higher crime rates were prioritized to make improvements, seeking to strengthen citizen coexistence and improve security with a preventive approach. For the second phase, three priority neighborhoods were added (2020-2022). 

The City sought a successful crime prevention model to inform improvements in public spaces. The municipal government team involved residents in priority neighborhoods through exploratory walks, surveys and workshops. For example, the “Neighborhood of Your Dreams” workshops allowed residents of all ages to express their visions for improvements through drawings.  

The improvements in public spaces varied depending on the neighborhood, since they respond to the needs that the neighbors expressed about each one. For example, in one of the nine neighborhoods intervened to date, in the area of ​​San José La Chácara and Saravia in Zone 5, more than 15,000 residents have directly benefited, since a new promenade has been implemented that includes a bike lane, exercise machines, trees and improved lighting.

Regarding preventive security infrastructure, a Community Kiosk was installed in the existing park. The strategy to locate these facilities seeks to build them close to squares, parks or public transport stations, integrated into a video surveillance system and constant training for police officers, since they are articulated with existing police stations, stations and substations of the National Civil Police.

The overall results are encouraging: more than 12,000 square meters of public spaces recovered in 9 neighborhoods, including squares, parks, walks and bike paths, directly benefiting more than 119,000 people.  

For residents, the benefits of the Prosperous Neighborhood Program included a reduction in crime rates and an increase in perceptions of safety. For example, a survey conducted in 2022 of residents of San José La Chácara and Saravia found a 12% reduction in crime victims, a 26% increase in the perception of safety and an increase of seven hours in the use of public parks.

Infographic of highlights and achievements of the Prosperous Neighborhood Program. Courtesy of Guatemala City.

Looking ahead, the Municipality of Guatemala will continue to expand the program while optimizing its approach based on data and lessons learned.  Since 2023, it has expanded the Program to 36 neighborhoods, benefiting 48% of the municipality’s population. The results so far confirm that sustainably improving public safety requires more than simply deploying police resources. When residents can confidently use the public spaces they feel are their own, it produces a deeper sense of community—and a more prosperous and secure Guatemala City. 

“The city is our home and the goal is for us to love it. Let’s take care of it, live in it and improve it together.”

Mayor Ricardo Quiñónez

“Strengthening coexistence between neighbors and improving security in the neighborhoods are priorities for the Prosperous Neighborhood program.  We aim to improve the quality of life and create a city with opportunities for all.” 

Mayor Ricardo Quiñónez
Plaza El Limón was revitalized as part of Prosperous Neighborhood. Image Courtesy of Guatemala City.

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Las Condes, Chile

Crime Falls as Data-Driven Governance Rises

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

At a Glance


More than 3,000 innovative security technologies, including cameras, sensors and drones in Las Condes. Of these, there are about 1,900 video surveillance cameras that stream data to an analytics software that detects possible crimes.


Robberies fell by 22% in 2023.


51 different movements the analytics program flags as potential problems.

Crime rates have risen in recent years in Latin America. But Las Condes, an affluent municipality of about 340,000 people that abuts Chile’s capital city, offers a different story: Its crime levels have fallen. For Las Condes’ leaders, this is proof that their strategy for improving public safety is working as planned.

Las Condes doesn’t have its own police force—instead there are municipal guards that are usually first responders. Municipal guards help uphold local regulations and maintain public order, but have limited law enforcement authority. Thus, state police forces are ultimately responsible for public safety. So leaders turned to technology, not manpower, to help make the city safer. Setting up a municipal network of security cameras around the city was key. To determine the most effective sites for thousands of cameras, the City identified locations with high numbers of thefts and other crimes between 2018 and 2022. The next step was integrating the cameras (there are now about 1,900 in place) with a predictive analytics software platform that could support fast police responses. The software analyzes data from the videos and automatically alerts municipal guards to potential crimes.

“For us, a smart city is not about gadgets; it’s a strategy and, of course, it’s always evolving.”

Daniela Peñaloza, Mayor

While Las Condes’ leaders were confident the security video network would boost safety, they also understood that residents had legitimate privacy concerns. To address them, officials make footage available to residents upon request. They’re also transparent about how the cameras are used—and how they fit into Las Condes’ larger public safety strategy.

Mayor Daniela Peñaloza calls the analytics system the City’s “brain.” And data-driven decision-making didn’t end once the strategy was up and running.

The City maintains a heat map detailing crime—e.g., where it happened, what was stolen, mode of transportation, etc. Each week, municipal inspectors review the map, while also tracking a predictive crime model fed by fresh data.

In 2022, crime fell across all categories except one: pedestrian robberies. After digging into the data, including video footage, officials realized there was a surge in crimes committed by people disguised as motorcycle delivery drivers. In response, the City’s public safety inspectors began using motorcycles to improve their mobility and address robbery hotspots. The result: Robberies dropped by 22% in 2023. As of May 2024, crime has dropped by 29% compared to the same period in 2023.

For Mayor Peñaloza, this is just one example that illustrates the power of data-driven governance. “In Las Condes, data paired with advanced analytics has become an essential part of our strategy for improving public safety,” she says.

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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

Monterrey, Mexico

Improving Quality of Life Through a Data-Driven, Resident-Oriented Municipal Budget

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

At a Glance


5% of the City’s annual real estate tax is allocated to projects proposed by residents through the Participatory Budget.


10,254 of votes cast by residents in 2023 for participatory budget proposals in 2023—five times higher than votes cast in 2022.


313 project proposals submitted by residents for the 2024 participatory budgeting round.


30 projects funded in 2023.

In late October 2023, Monterrey residents and city leaders gathered at the Rube Bridge in the Bella Vista neighborhood to celebrate a resident-led transformation. A once nondescript concrete underpass, which many neighbors avoided due to open-air drug use and loitering, was inaugurated as a recreational space featuring a soccer field, basketball and tennis courts, modern lighting and benches. Plans for security cameras, a playground and murals are in the works.

This revitalization is the result of the City of Monterrey’s participatory budgeting (PB) program, which allocates five percent of annual property tax receipts to fund resident proposals each year. Launched in 2022, the proposal is part of the city’s growing commitment to collaborative government and data-driven decision making.

Here’s how it worked:

  1. A resident of the Bella Vista neighborhood submitted a proposal to revitalize the bridge underpass.
  2. The City approved the proposal and included it on the ballot.
  3. Voters approved related proposals in 2022 and 2023.
  4. Bella Vista neighbors formed a committee to review construction project bids and monitor work site progress. (The commitment to this project from Bella Vista residents is remarkable—residents helped keep construction materials secure by sleeping at the construction site.)
Image Courtesy of the City of Monterrey.

Residents are clearly powering Monterrey’s participatory budgeting process—and behind the scenes, so is data. To ensure that wealthy enclaves don’t receive a disproportionate amount of funding, the City divided Monterrey into 30 sectors based on their respective socioeconomic conditions. It then prioritized funding projects in vulnerable areas. Additionally, the amount of funds made available to a particular proposal depends on four factors: the number of inhabitants of the area, the correct payment of property taxes, the level of segregation and the amount of active neighborhood councils in a sector. All proposals put up for vote must also meet technical and legal requirements, as well as being aligned to the City’s strategic goals.

One signal of the PB program’s success? Its growing popularity. In 2022, residents proposed 265 projects, of which 160 were accepted by the City; 2,452 residents ultimately approved 30 to receive funding. Last year, the City received 280 proposals, with 172 deemed feasible and 30 selected by voters. More than four times as many people (10,254) voted on those projects, thanks in part to a city communications campaign that drew on results from a performance analysis of the PB program’s first year.

Today, with civically active residents and an administration that routinely uses data to identify and prioritize local needs, progress is happening in Monterrey. Across the city—the first in Mexico to earn What Works Cities Certification—public spaces are being rehabilitated and reforested, and mobility infrastructure is being made safer. This is what smart, open government looks like in action.

“By having transparency mechanisms in place so citizens can understand how we use resources and make decisions with data, we’re promoting collaboration between society and government. It’s about being able to understand and recognize what can be improved. If we don’t listen to citizens, we lose a fundamental way to keep growing and improving.”

Monica Medellín Estrada, Director of Proactive Transparency, City of Monterrey
Monterrey city staff share more about the participatory budgeting process. Image Courtesy of the City of Monterrey.

“As leaders we have to make decisions every day, otherwise things can fall apart. Whatever our intentions, data helps us know what to do. When you have data, you know you are making a good decision.” 

Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, Mayor

30 resident-proposed projects funded by participatory budgeting

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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.

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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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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

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