Caring for My Neighbourhood
Caring for My Neighbourhood - Geolocating Spending in Brazil
This post was written by Gisele Craveiro of the University of São Paulo, member of OKFN Brazil and one of the coordinators of the Research Group of Public Politics in Access to Information (GPoPAI).
The public budget should express the population’s needs and priorities, and its implementation should be as transparent as possible. In Brazil, the municipal budget implementation details must be published on the web daily, but even in the case where this law is acted upon, the reality is that very few people understand them.
The Caring for My Neighbourhood project wants to provide the means for society to know the themes of the budget for better spending oversight.
To achieve this objective, all expenditure related to public equipments in São Paulo are geolocated and shown in a web site. This will support training activities in the community. We aim to promote citizen engagement by showing the user which projects can be found in their area.
By providing an easy visualisation of many individual expenses placed in a map, this project may lead people to make a link between government action and something tangible of their everyday life. The tool shows on the map the expense description, the amount of resources allocated to it, and the amount spent so far. This makes data about expenses more understandable and allows residents to take control of what is happening in their neighbourhood.
We hope that the comparison to other areas in the city can give more powerful arguments to the community and citizens during budget formulation and other decision-making processes. We hope that it can contribute to better income distribution and a more efficient fight against corruption.
Besides the tool, we will develop content about public budget concepts in order to support activities in the community. We will also organize mapping fests so participants can know more about neighbourhood and public projects that are receiving investment. We hope that the collected information (maps, photos, videos, texts, etc.) produced during these activities can constitute a crowdsourcing platform for future monitoring and also feed open platforms like OpenStreetMap.
Researchers from University of São Paulo, OKFN members, and Our São Paulo Network (a network of over 600 civil society organizations operating in the municipality of São Paulo) are organising this initiative, but we’d like to invite anyone interested to contribute by sending suggestions, coding, or just disseminating information on the project to anyone it may concern. For more information, contact Gisele Craveiro (giselesc at usp dot br).