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Miguel Lago noir et blanc

Miguel Lago

President-Director, Our Cities Network

BACKGROUND / Academic and professional background
I co-founded Meu Rio in 2011, and the Our Cities Network in 2014. I have ever since been its President-Director.
I hold a BA in Political Science, and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris.

ACHIEVEMENT/ What is your project, initiative, start-up, company all about?

Our Cities was started by Meu Rio, a locally-focused platform and network for civic engagement and people-powered political action. Since October 2011, Meu Rio has worked to ensure that all citizens of Rio de Janeiro would benefit from and participate in the decision- making processes that are changing the urban landscape. The organization pools citizens’ ideas and resources to help improve and simplify city life, advocate for people’s right to the city, and make the city’s institutions more inclusive, responsive and accountable. Meu Rio’s methodology is based on a mix of online tools and offline community-management efforts. It ensures that members’ engagement gets deeper and more recurrent over time.

Our Cities’ mission is to create cities that are both inclusive and sustainable through the effective participation of citizens. The organization believes that the same structures that lead to unsustainable outcomes in cities oftentimes lead to inequitable outcomes – hitting marginalized and poor populations the hardest.
Through the Founders Program, Our Cities aims to expand Meu Rio’s model of people-powered politics to cities around the world, igniting a network of over 300 organizations that are dedicated to fostering communities of purpose and supporting citizens in their efforts to influence local politics and keep governments accountable and committed to inclusion and sustainability.

LOCATION/ In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities?

Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Campinas, Blumenau, Ouro Preto, Garopaba, all cities in Brazil.

IMPACT/ What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental…of your activity, project, initiative, start-up, company?

Three years after launch, 1 in 15 millennials in Rio is a member of Meu Rio. Our community is already composed by 200.000 members, and was able to change more than 50 public policies from citizens’ demands.
Successful campaigns started by Meu Rio’s members have included in-person demonstrations at City Hall to prevent sudden, unilateral changes to the city’s environmental code; creating Rio’s first police unit specializing in missing people and investigation of human trafficking; saving a landmark neighborhood public school from demolition through 24/7 webcam monitoring; and changing the Constitution to preclude officials convicted of corruption from occupying high-level positions in Rio’s administration.
The other networks in other cities have just started in 2015, and are starting showing impact.

QUOTE/ A saying, quote or reference phrase that tells something about you

“The right to change ourselves by changing the city.” David Harvey