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Buenos Aires, a Digital City where Urban Matters Really Matter

Whether you get your first glimpse of Buenos Aires from above or crossing the Rio de la Plata, you know immediately you’re approaching a city of superlatives. Among the top 20 largest cities globally, it boasts the widest avenue in the world and sprawls along one of the largest river deltas on the planet. Often called the Paris of the South, the residents, aka Porteños, are proud of their heritage and lifestyle, and work hard to keep the city green and sustainable.

The city’s subway is the oldest in South America, and this year, Buenos Aires became the winner of the 9th annual, international ITDP Sustainable Transport Award for improving urban mobility and reducing CO2 emissions. It was also recognized this year as one of the Digital Cities in the SAP Urban Matters Initiative that is actively addressing problems of rapid urbanization and the need for sustainable growth using the power of connected citizens.

Urban maintenance is a big task. The city has an army of inspectors out on the streets to detect problems and ensure smooth operations. The Ministry of Environment and Public Space fields requests and reports from citizens and other organizations by phone, mail, internet and mobile apps and works with over 150,000 contractors to respond to the different types of requests. About 190,000 citizen claims and 150,000 failures detected by inspectors are processed every year.

Over the years, challenges related to maintenance became so big that the Ministry decided to standardize processes through dashboards that keep track of tasks in real time and manage workflows, analyze data and deliver the right information to each department. The initial scope with SAP CRM covered permits for constructions and repairs in public spaces; today, it is fully integrated with a maintenance system covering streets, sidewalks, streetlights, green areas and trees.

Because urban matters really do matter here, the city has taken further steps. Using SAP Mobile Platform, they’ve now developed a mobile app for the street inspectors to enter and process data on site, enabling them to make faster and better decisions in real time. Potholes, defective street lamps, broken water pipes are reported to the Ministry which in turn notifies the contractors, speeding up the repair process and directly impacting the quality of life for residents. The mobile app is also used to inspect stores, issue permits related to public spaces such as sidewalk tables for restaurants, and to inspect and issue permits for street fairs and flea markets which are plentiful throughout the city.

Using innovative technology and support from the SAP Urban Matters Initiative, Porteños are supporting the fundamentals of good government. They are empowering public officials to be more productive, increasing community engagement, driving innovation around government service delivery, and improving urban resilience to help ensure public safety and security.

I’m really excited about my next visit to Buenos Aires for a firsthand look at the results!


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