Global Youth-Led Development Report Series - Report 4 - ICT, Urban Governance and Youth

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This paper aims to develop a conceptual frame-work to accommodate rapidly changing dynamics in three areas of urban development: the demographics of the fastest growing segment of urban populations, youth (ages 15 to 24); information and communications technology (ICT) and particularly mobile phones; and governance, particularly local government in the developing world. With its advanced draft on ICT-enabled governance, the UN-Habitat has laid the groundwork by addressing issues of urbanization and ICT-based government. The present paper seeks to add the youth dimension in a way that builds upon the advanced draft and takes into account the special characteristics of young, technologically savvy citizens. The present review covers published and unpublished literature, internet searches, and direct interviews with youth activists who are exploring the impact of ICT and local governance on young people, among them beneficiaries of the Urban Youth Fund. In all, data were gathered on 51 cases, of which 17 were obtained through direct personal interviews or by Skype. One of the striking observation from the case data gathered for this review is that young citizens introduce an entirely new dimension in ICT and governance. ICT in the hands of youth has become a rapidly evolving tool that reaches beyond ICT-enabled conventional governance, defined in the advanced draft as covering four pillars: 1) adopting technology to improve outcomes, 2) balancing inclusiveness and responsiveness when using technology, 3) public openness through technology and 4) engaging citizens as partners in urban governance.


Daniella Bet-Attar

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