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Crowdsourcing can be used to obtain services, ideas, funds or content by soliciting contributions (generally on a voluntary basis and online) from a large group of people.  It can also be used as a voting platform to express preferences between different policy/project alternatives. This is the second of a series of posts on how crowdsourcing initiatives are being used for Urban Development. On the first post I discussed the OpenIdeo platform; here I will focus on Mi Medellin

Mi Medellin is an open innovation platform recently launched by the Mayor’s office (Alcaldia de Medellin) in partnership with Ruta N[1]. Its purpose is to create a place where citizen can interact directly with public authorities, bringing their own ideas to solve Medellin’s urban challenges. It is organized across two areas: Challenges and Questions (Retos y Preguntas). The Challenges work in a similar fashion than the Openideo platform: a challenge is created; users can propose ideas and vote for the best ones. The first challenge that appears on the platform is how to manage the areas below the bridges near the Medellin River. The top 10 (voted) ideas will be presented in the World Urban Forum which will take place in the city in April, 2014. Questions (Preguntas) on the other side, are organized across a set of policy/project options and users can vote among them. The image below shows an example of a question.

 

 

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I applaud the city of Medellin for creating such a platform, and as usual, for trying to be in the front line of urban innovaiton. As a fellow urban planner used to say “Citizens are the neighborhood experts, as their everyday experiences of the places where they live and work constitute an essential knowledge for planning and urban development”. This platform is a powerful tool to strengthen the information flow from citizens to public authorities. I am particularly excited by the fact that it was the local government who created this platform, making it easier for ideas to become realities. I am looking forward to participate in this platform and see where it goes. 
 
A note of caution, so far only 1704 people have participated in the platform, in a city of around 2.2 million. It would be interesting to see participants’ profiles, as most probably they are not representative of the city. What do you think? Do you know of similar initiatives being implemented in other cities? 
 

[1] Ruta N is a corporation created by the Mayor’s office and the city’s utility company (UNE/EPM). Its main objective is to promote the development of businesses (Entrepreneurship) and increase the competitively of the city and region. 

2 thoughts on “Crowdsourcing Solutions for Urban Development II: MI MEDELLIN

  1. Really interesting Paula, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across explaining crowds, open innovation, and citizen science.​ ​In particular I feel you may find these two emerging pieces of research very relevant:

    – The Theory of Crowd Capital
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115

    – The Contours of Crowd Capability
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2324637

    Powerful stuff, no

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