Public Design

Perspectives for Change

Number 1Transformation Patterns: Experiences of Local Governments in Latin America

Public Design – “Transformation Patterns: Experiences of Local Governments in Latin America”

We welcome you to download the report “Transformation Patterns: Experiences of Local Governments in Latin America”

Take a look at the first report from “Public Design: Perspectives for Change”, presented by Unit: a space in which to share new insights on design, innovation, and transformation.

This first number details 10 transformation patterns from local governments in Latin America, the results of extensive field work that has allowed us to detect common elements amongst the city halls that positively impact public transformation processes. Each one of these patterns has been identified based on the practical knowledge of people working inside the 170 local governments that Unit has interacted with over the last four years.

A valuable guide for everyone who works in and with local governments in the region, and for everyone who wants to build better cities.


Transformation Patterns from Local Governments in Latin America

In Latin America, there are over 16,000 local governments and city halls facing diverse challenges on a daily basis in order to provide services that allow for a good quality of life for their more than 660,000,000 residents. They are the ones who must respond, as the first point of contact between the public sector and citizens, to the population’s multiple and complex demands, ranging from those provoked by COVID-19 and social security, to the consequences of climate change. Without a doubt, this positions them as a fundamental driving force and agent of change in order to cope with their communities’ new challenges.

The environment in which the organisations reside is in constant change, and if these fail to adapt to their dynamism and, to the contrary, uphold the rigidity that they often maintain over time, it is very probable that they will collapse. Thus, it is indispensable for organisations to advance towards new models that enable transformations and innovations that allow for the creation of value within their territories. For this same reason, many city halls today have been developing and installing dynamic capacities to cope with the new challenges cities are facing.

This report is an initial summary exercise regarding these 10 transformation patterns –dynamic capacities that are currently having positive impacts on the transformation processes of local governments and city halls in Latin America– and which the Unit team has conceptualised based on its interaction with:

local governments from all over the region.

Many of the ideas analysed here have been discussed previously, yet without this necessarily having been done in contrast to the daily endeavour of city management. In this sense, this report represents knowledge based on practice and provides new evidence for local transformation, with the objective of facilitating the organisations’ operations regarding the capacities required in order to develop public transformation processes in a systematic way.

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