Cleodon Silva

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2010
Instituto Lidas


This profile was prepared when Cleodon Silva was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Cleodon created the Lidas Institute in order to provide citizens with information that can inform their civic engagement. Through participatory geopositioning exercises, he helps identify social needs, holds local government more accountable and reconnects people with their neighborhoods while promoting citizen participation. He does so by mapping existing information about cities through the agregation of existing data and scientific indicators, and by analysing them against knowledge produced by local communities. Cleodon understood early on that the first step to producing relevant information was to rethink the way urban areas are divided-up and administered. In order to get citizens to connect to their surroundings, he has reorganized all the districts of Sao Paulo into subunits called Units of Participative Planning (UPPs). The area covered by these UPPs is determined according to the way the majority of citizens in any given part of the city interact with their environment.

With these urban subunits as its starting point, the Lidas Institute has developed a virtual platform, Base Comum de Conhecmiento Cidadão (BCCC—Common Grounds of Citizen Knowledge). Using geopositioning techniques and open source software, this online space agregates various data points about each UPP, while making it visually easy to understand and absorb the information displayed. In order to further incite civic participation and deepen citizens’ understanding of their neighborhoods, anyone can also add, edit and share information that might be relevant for their communities or for the city as a whole.

By thus merging scientific and popular knowledge, Cleodon is facilitating the diagnostic of important socioeconomic and cultural issues. However, the BCCC is merely a tool he then uses to promote and design appropriate responses from the bottom up. Particularly concerned with the wellbeing and civic education of younger generations, and recognizing their propensity to readily assimilate the technological tools he has developed, Cleodon has therefore been training youth between the ages of 16 and 29 to master this tool. As a result, he helped create COOPLURB—the Cooperative of Urban Logistics—with these youth. They began by using the UPPs and the BCCC to design low-cost market research for small and medium enterprises looking to establish their businesses in low-income neighborhoods. They have since amplified the scope of their work in order to affect public policy on such issues as the rights of children and adolescents, and to facilitate the work of citizen organizations (COs). Cleodon is now establishing partnerships within COs in order to bring the methodology to other urban centers throughout Brazil.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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