A contradiction between young poor people living in margin areas of Sao Paulo, who want to be heard by society and participation processes set up the municipality, which remain empty. To fix this missing link we want to encourage young people to speak up and explain their issues of life to be part of the decision-making process. During a four-month program we guide “local heroes” to take part in the city planning process and train new “local heroes” to keep the process rolling.
The cities used to be designed top-down with a strong influence of the city planners, but little feedback by the people actually living in that area. This problem is especially grave in big cities like San Paolo where the poor people have an even weaker representation in the government. If we take just Sao Paolo as an example, 20% of all 14 to 29 years old in Brazil are No-Nos.
The Brazilian No Nos have the desire to change the social fabric but feel like they have no voice. The government is actively looking for participation from the community but the meetings are always empty.
Our solution is a four-month social program for 14-29-year-old no-nos. The program shows them that they have a voice and are important through engagement with civic issues. A youth leader in the community hosts an event for no-nos. Together with an expert who is a PhD Student in Sao Paulo, the youth leader works with the no-nos to create a community map. This shows the no-nos that their knowledge of the community is important and can be used to inform city decisions.
The no-nos get training for soft and hard skills in and around urban planning and communication. They then work with each other and create solutions for a challenge they identify in their home. The no-nos presents their map and pitch solutions at city hall to officials and funders. The no-nos that finish the program then go on to become mentors in the next iteration of the Local Hero Project.
We have two kinds of users: the first kind are the no-nos of Brazil. Two challenges that they face are the lack growth and the lack of voice in their community. We will provide a targeted program that gives them the skills and the support they need to have both. The other beneficiary is the urban planning department of San Paolo that can use this first-hand source innovation and knowledge.
Usually social programs target only activities like sports and languages. Our solution addresses a specific and systematic problem in large cities in a very scalable way. It is based on proven program formats with both social and city planning experts involved in its design.
The biggest competitors are the government’s own outreach programs that are put in place if there are not enough votes. These however are rarely successful.
The solution has not been done or successfully implemented before because the issue is poorly understood. Through our interviews we validated that the young people do not feel seen in society and they want to participate actively of the creation process of ideas for their community.
As our solution is an action chain and not a single four-month-program the impact has the potential to be enormous: by 2030, the majority of these young no-nos will be professionals and will make decisions. So, as a young no-nos, how can I prepare for future challenges and how can I think the city that I want? This is our impact, considering the challenges of cities of future, as the 4th Industrial Revolution applied to Urban Development. We will measure this impact through SDG indicators, focused on SDG 11.
After UNLEASH we are presenting our idea to Prof. Patrícia Iglesias of the Urban Strategies Department of the University of San Paulo. With the input of experts, we can build up an institute and together with university, as a scientific extension project, and within partnership with city council.
To further our idea, we will need help with rapid prototyping and introductions to clients / customers.