The “government authorities group” is made up of 19 very eager students from a range of disciplines.
We used the brief and introductory video to start a discussion on the main role of each level of government (national, city-wide, and municipal) in urban development, and in particular in the case of the development project “Harbour of Dreams”. The students then divided themselves in these three subgroups, and had a chat about their group’s interests, objectives and potential allies.
The second task was for them to define a vision of sustainable cities, in character. All groups found that issues of poverty and inequalities were essential, and thus that the idea of a “liveable”, “sanitary”, “clean”, and “safe” cities were important. The groups, and in particular the City Council group, also had in mind that a sustained source of funding is essential to the sustainable city. The importance of collecting tax revenue was mentioned. In terms of governance, the national government put forward notions of accountability and reducing corruption, while both tiers of local governments were more interested in the participation and representation of citizens into decisions. Finally the environment was referred to as important in terms of providing a healthy environment to its citizens (issues of sanitation and waste management were important). The national government mentioned its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases emissions through the Kyoto protocol.
During the last part of the afternoon, students created visual materials that they decided to use in order to communicate better with potential allies at the next negotiation meeting. Both tiers of local government worked particularly on engaging local residents and the media as two key actors.