Montevideo Decide: an open source platform for citizen participation

Montevideo adapted an Open Source platform for citizen participation.

The Uruguayan capital Montevideo adapted an open source platform created in Madrid, to its local needs to support citizen participation in the municipality.

In Montevideo, they had worked to promote the philosophy of open government since 2007 when a public digital infrastructure that allowed multiple forms of interaction with citizens began to be developed.

An app for open government

The philosophy of open government in Montevideo has been based on four pillars: open knowledge, data and open services, and the use of open software, according to Janaina Goulart for the IADB.

According to these open government ideas, in 2018, Montevideo began to reuse the Consul tool, developed by the municipality of Madrid and available in the IADB’s Development Code repository.

This platform facilitates citizen participation through debates, proposals, and participatory budgets. From the application, thousands of citizens can send their ideas and choose to support the most critical issues of the municipality.

Those responsible for the development of the application were Juan Prada, Advisor of the Department of Sustainable and Intelligent Development, and Álvaro Rettich, Software Architect of the same department, the organ responsible for information technology in Montevideo.

“We wanted to encourage citizens to submit proposals to improve the city, and we saw that the Madrid experience matched our open source philosophy,” says Prada. “It did not make sense to start developing a solution if one already existed. We adapted the platform to the needs of Montevideo, started with a low profile, and expanded its use by modules. ”

In addition to the adjustments in the tool, the work behind is excellent, says Rettich. “In this year, we work in all processes – who presents ideas, how many supports do you need, what is the formal process of validation. We have just closed the stage of presenting and supporting; now we are in the interval in which feasibility is being evaluated. ”

Open source to capture the ideas of citizens

In the Open to the Public blog, they explain that “the ideas module works in the following way: citizens present one or more ideas through the platform. Each person can access the platform through social networks (Facebook, Google+ and Twitter) or their ID-Uruguay and look for support. The ideas supported by more than 500 persons, go through a feasibility study by the Intendancy. Once evaluated as viable, the proposals are voted again in the tool, and those most voted have the commitment of the municipality to implement them. ”

Among the proposed ideas are the massive castration of dogs and cats and create a ferry line for the Bay of Montevideo.

Two hundred fifty-eight ideas presented in 2018, 10 exceeded 500 supports. The Municipality of Montevideo will begin to execute four of these proposals.