Deliberative Democracy and Transforming Urban Policy Design in Buenos Aires

Location: The Ash Center

In recent years, Buenos Aires has set out to become more inclusive and sustainable, and city government has made serving its most vulnerable populations a priority. To that end, the Housing Authority of the City of Buenos Aires has designed an innovative Socio-Urban Integration Plan which seeks to involve the relevant actors in the decision-making of the slum-upgrading intervention.

There are many examples in the global experience of slum-upgrading. Unlike others, however, the Buenos Aires program starts from the premise that the community itself will design and implement the plan. In practical terms, this means that instead of a top-down approach to design and implementation of the public policy, the government's action concentrates on building local capacity so that neighbors are able to engage actively in a dialogue with the government and other stakeholders to further common goals and, ultimately,  influence the actions that shape their lives.

The process started three years ago, and today more than 120,000 households are benefiting from the program. Important results not only include the improved access to essential infrastructure, housing, and social services, but the results also demonstrate that when mechanisms of participation are well-designed, deliberative democracy can be massive, profound, and effective.

Organized by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, this event will feature Juan Ignacio MaquieyraPresident of the Housing Authority of the City of Buenos Aires, in discussion with Candelaria Garay, Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Democracy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Refreshments will be served.