Open government, civic tech and digital platforms in Latin America: A governance study of Montevideo’s urban app ‘Por Mi Barrio’

Paper by Carolina Aguerre and Carla Bonina: “Digital technologies have a recognised potential to build more efficient, credible, and innovative public institutions in Latin America. Despite progress, digital transformation in Latin American governments remains limited. In this work, we explore a peculiar yet largely understudied opportunity in the region: pursuing digital government transformation as a collaborative process between the government and civil society organisations. To do so, we draw from information systems research on digital government and platforms for development, complemented with governance theory from political science and conduct an interpretive in-depth case study of an urban reporting platform in Montevideo called ‘Por Mi Barrio’. The study reveals three mutually reinforced orders of governance in the trajectory of the project and explain how the collaboration unfolded over time: (i) a technical decision to use open platform architectures; (ii) the negotiation of formal and informal rules to make the project thrive and (iii) a shared, long-term ideology around the value of open technologies and technical sovereignty grounded in years of political history. Using a contextual explanation approach, our study helps to improve our understanding on the governance of collaborative digital government platforms in Latin America, with specific contributions to practice…(More)”.