What if a city could have its priorities and projects chosen directly by citizens, without the risk of the technical feasibility of those ideas? Sounds good? That is the idea behind Rio+, a project by social enterprise Benfeitoria and NGO Rio Eu Amo Eu Cuido.
Benfeitoria is a crowdfundingsite focused on projects with a social benefit that does not charge any commission for money raised on the platform. Rio Eu Amo Eu Cuido is an organization that performs actions for urban conservation, from street cleaning projects through to running kindergartens. The two institutions have joined together to create a transformative project.
Rio+ is a platform where any citizen can create a project for Rio de Janeiro, in any scope, provided it will improve the city. Already, it has a huge range of ideas listed, from mobile apps to tunnels connecting areas of the city.
Rio+ is easy to use, with projects split into categories and not too many details required for each listing. Just enter the idea and go! Once listed, Benfeitoria, along with partner organizations, will initiate a feasibility study, selecting the best ideas and identifying resources and partners needed to make it happen.
The remaining projects then go to the jury, i.e. they’ll be voted for online and by the City of Rio, where people can decide on the best design in each category. Once the winners are chosen, the City is responsible for realising each of the projects, and Natura – a partner initiative – will also implement an extra project. Even after implementation, the projects will be monitored so that the impact can be measured, and in the future some may become public policy and be expanded.
Rio+ initially began as a citizen-led initiative, but recently the City of Rio embraced the idea and turned it into a kind-of public-private partnership. It has been incorporated into official government channels, expanding on its ability to execute projects and ensuring the involvement of local government in the initiative’s future.
Rio+ deserves credit for realising the ideas of citizens, contributing to the creation of a participatory and engaged city. If you want to help transform Rio, this is your chance. Head over to Rio+ – you just need some creativity and goodwill!
Igor Rodrigues is editor of This Big City em português