"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Citizens for City

Location: India


Our Indian cities, which have the potential to contribute enormously to the nation, are paradoxically victimized by their own growth!

Hyderabad is no exception. Our City, with transnational and Indian giants, world’s best research establishments, institutions of higher learning dotting its cityscape, has grown exponentially. However, the city administration is yet to reinvent itself to match the pace of city’s growth - needless to say that bad roads, traffic travails, garbage, poor sanitation, air and water pollution have become dining and board room discussions.

We, at Foundation for Futuristic Cities (FFC) – www.futurecities.org believe that every Indian city needs Citizen Architects urgently – citizens who can collectively transform the city.

Hyderabad city has 8.8 million Creative and Caring Citizens - Professionals with Panache and Pride, Smart and Savvy Students, Women with Wisdom and Verve, Sanguine Senior Citizens, Tolerant and Tech savvy Teenagers, Ambitious Artists and Real, Real Romantics...

A first in this genre, FFC’s CITIZENS FOR CITY initiative was specially crafted to capitalize on these very attributes of Hyderabadis, employing the “Crowd Sourcing” protocol.

It was run as a contest that invited strategies and solutions which were locked up in the minds of the citizens for transforming Hyderabad into a livable and world class city. It was designed to propel Hyderabad into a new orbit.

We believe that a city that has the support of its stakeholders creates a good brand and helps in its multifaceted growth.

Initiatives cocieved, steered & owned by citizens themselves for the problems hurting the city, will infuse a sense of urgency and accountability into the government agencies.

Through CITIZENS FOR CITY Contest a knowledge bank of innovative strategies was created to draw from and fall back on if the city needs them. ( Read more about this in “Sculpt Your City”)

How does the city gain?

· Profits from the wisdom of diverse stakeholders of Hyderabad for some of the nagging issues plaguing the city,

· Heightened awareness amongst citizens on what they can do for the city leading to collective action,

· Attract the attention of government agencies to spur proactive actions, and

· Inspire creation of formal / informal citizen forums at various levels to carry forward the agenda of Citizens for City.

What are participant pay offs?

· Gain insights and contribute to challenges needing urgent attention,

· Hone research, analytical, documentation and persuasive skills,

· Hands on experience in getting a project off the ground,

· Stay in the minds of everyone as a Citizen Architect,

· Earn respect if other cities decide to adopt their stratergies, and

· Create opportunities for Social Entrepenuership.

FFC developed a model for large scale stakeholder participation and involvement in the governance process through the CITIZENS FOR CITY Contest, inviting strategies from the citizens for a World Class Hyderabad. The response to this initiative was tremendous - MNCs like ADP, Deloitte, Infosys, Honeywell, CB Richard Ellis, premier educational and research institutions like Indian School of Business, IIIT-H, NRSC-ISRO, NIN (ICMR), ICFAI Business School, and Institute for Public Enterprises, etc being some amongst the participants.

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