The power of an idea

Brendan Baines is working in Colima, México in Networking and Partnerships

El Instituto de Planeación para el Municipio de Colima (IPCo) has recently undergone a rebranding effort. Under the label Imagina Colima, IPCo has two goals:

  • increase public interaction and awareness of its projects; and
  • become the center of a movement towards a sustainable, just, equitable and happy urban environment.

The result will be a network where knowledge-sharing can occur from the top-down, bottom-up, and amongst peers to build the productive and sustainable Colima that we all imagine.

Why the change?

Imagina will not mark a change in priorities for the institute, nor will it change the structure or the way in which it conducts its projects: the name change simply shifts the focus from an organization working towards urban sustainability to the idea itself. This changes the structure of the dialogue from presentation to discussion.

Imagina has outlined 7 target priorities, which are, in short:

  1. An inclusive city
  2. An integrated municipality
  3. Ample options for sustainable transportation
  4. Public spaces that are utilized as community focal points
  5. Urban development in harmony with the environment
  6. The construction of a collective conscience
  7. A reconnection with and celebration of Colimense culture

But why the need for extensive public engagement?

Realistically, IPCo does not have the ability to address all of these issues thoroughly. Fortunately, there are existing groups that are working towards the realization of these goals in Colima: by connecting with these groups, and them to one another, Imagina hopes to draw new support and attention to all parties involved, and create a comprehensive movement towards a better city.

Developmental work fails when there is a lack of one of the following three types of capital: political, intellectual and social. Despite the focus on incorporating public opinion through surveys and participatory projects, social capital has been fleeting. Through Imagina, IPCo hopes to round out the picture by providing a central outlet for the people of Colima to voice their opinions in an unfiltered environment.

Conversely, grassroots organizations may hit a glass ceiling due to a lack of organizational ability or political access. Collaboration amongst differing, but complementing bodies is not just a good idea, it is imperative for success when working in an organism as complex as a city.

A network surrounding an idea

In Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, he states that the main driver of innovation is social connectivity – great ideas are born when individual hunches (generally from differing disciplines) come together. Providing a forum for interaction across differing tribes serves as the 21st century coffee house; and by provoking dialogue around an idea, we can make our goals accessible and addressable by all.

As Johnson states, chance favors the connected mind. So please, tell us how you think we can improve the urban environment.


About sustainablecitiesnetwork

Sustainable Cities International is a registered not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver, Canada. Operating since 1993, the mission of Sustainable Cities is to catalyze action on urban sustainability with cities around the world. We work by connecting and mobilizing people through the process of co-creating. We facilitate a thriving, international network of cities that act as urban laboratories: adopting, testing and improving on innovations. Ideas are accelerated through sharing of experience and cities are making transformational change a reality
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One Response to The power of an idea

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