Could a City Restructure Itself Around Economies of Care?
In this session we explore the case of Bogota’s Care Blocks, as told by Mayor Claudia López.
This session is in collaboration with Experimentalista and UNDP’s Innovation Unit.
One of the most important lessons of the pandemic is that cities need to go beyond a logic of economics and efficiency, and instead have public purpose and civics at their core. So, imagine that a whole city could restructure itself around care, for example, one of the most pressing issues of the times at hand.
This is less whimsical and more practical than it sounds. Bogotá has started addressing social needs and the city’s needs from the perspective of Care Blocks, a novel, emerging and impressive reorientation not only of policy and city services but also of the built environment and land use around women and economies of care.
Bogota’s Care Blocks is an initiative that seeks to recognize, redistribute and reduce unpaid domestic and care work, and those who perform it, 90% of whom are women. They are designed to deliver care services in a way in which people do not need to walk long distances to access them, concentrating existing and new care services in safe, caring environments that increase access to them for those who need them and thus free up the time of those who have historically provided care on an unpaid basis under conditions of inequality.
Since the launch of the initiative, back in October 2020, it has provided more than 8,000 care services. The municipality tested the model in one district of Bogotá and currently there are five Care Blocks as well as two Mobile Care Units. With Care Blocks, Bogotá is striving to integrate urban planning, tactical urbanism and a gender approach for the delivery of care services.
Claudia Lopez started her mandate on the 1st of January 2020 for a four-year term. She became the city’s first female and also the first lesbian Mayor in Bogota’s history. She has an emphatic focus on the environmental, social equity and anticorruption agendas.
Seeking to provide equal opportunities, Mayor López promotes gender equality and inclusion targeted specially at women and youth. She is a firm believer of the need to channel and make the most of the force of young people to promote the construction of a better world.
Lopez was a Senator of the Republic of Colombia between 2014 and 2018 and the vice-presidential candidate in the 2018 presidential election for the Green Alliance party. The public recognizes her tenacity and enormous capacity for collective action, which was reflected in the fight against corruption by leading a citizen consultancy, a participatory instrument, with historic results. Before entering her political career, Lopez was an accomplished researcher and scholar.
Lopez is a finance and international relations graduate from Universidad Externado de Colombia, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Urban Politics from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University.
Ms. Rodriguez holds a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University in the United States. She graduated in Law and Economy from the Los Andes University in Bogota, Colombia.
She has a vast experience as a human rights defender and researcher. As Deputy Director and Researcher at the Center for Law, Justice and Society Studies (Dejusticia) she worked on issues such as citizen participation, forced displacement, access to health and environmental policy.
Secretary for Women’s Affairs at the Mayor’s office of Bogotá.
Gabriella Gómez-Mont is the founder and director of Experimentalista, a novel type of nomadic and creative office specialized in cities, with high-level, transdisciplinary collaborations across the world. She is former chief creative officer of Mexico City, and founder of Laboratorio para la Ciudad (2013-2018), the award-winning experimental arm and creative think-tank of the Mexico City government, reporting to the mayor.
She is a Yale World Fellow, TED Senior Fellow, MIT Director’s Fellow and was the recipient of the first Creative Bureaucrat Award. She was also named one of the 100 most creative people in Business by Fast Company Magazine.
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Giulio Quaggiotto is the Head, Strategic Innovation, Regional Innovation Center, United Nations Development Programme. As Head of UNDP’s Regional Innovation Center for the Asia Pacific, he works with governments across the region to develop renewal capabilities and accelerate impact on complex development challenges. He is an MIT Research Associate with a focus on lead user innovation.
Prior to joining UNDP, he was the Director of Community at Climate KIC and an Innovation Advisor for the Prime Minister’s Office in the UAE. Giulio’s career includes stints at Nesta, WWF and the World Bank. He was also the manager of the Jakarta Lab of the UN Global Pulse, a flagship innovation initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General on big data for public policy.
His interests include portfolio approaches to innovation and incorporating grassroots innovations into national innovation systems. He is a regular speaker at international conferences on the intersection of social innovation, technology and international development.