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Welcome to the July Edition of the Best Practices monthly feature. In this read, we highlight how INFONAVIT (Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers), the largest social mortgage company in Latin America, has implemented a national strategy to measure prosperity and sustainability of 153 municipalities in Mexico.

Using the City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) developed by UN-Habitat, INFONAVIT (Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers) has implemented a national platform in Mexico to assess the state of cities using six critical dimensions of prosperity and sustainability. these include: productivity, urban infrastructure development, quality of life, equity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability and governance and legislation.

Each month, we feature one of the Best Practices winners from the 11th Cycle of the Dubai International Award endorsed by UN-Habitat and Dubai Municipality. We hope that these best practices will inform and inspire you on initiatives that are making effective interventions to improve the lives of urban residents around the globe. The 11th cycle comprised of the following categories:

Name of organization: INFONAVIT (Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers)

Country: Mexico

WINNER of the Best Practice Transfer Award in Monitoring Mechanisms for the New Urban Agenda and the Urban Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) category

This Award category aims to recognize local governments, academia, private sector, civil society and any other organizations and institutions that are putting in place effective local monitoring systems for the follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda and the urban SDGs.

The monitoring mechanism enables local and national governments to make correct decisions on the best policies to adopt, and assist in tracking changes, whilst systematically documenting performance of the city at the outcome level. This will increase the possibilities for the cities to address the environmental, social and economic components of urbanization.

Improving the quality of living is a key priority for INFONAVIT

The Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (INFONAVIT) is an autonomous fiscal entity, founded in 1972. Its structure comprises equal representation of the Workers Sector, the Private Sector, and the Government Sector. It was created as a social service organization, with legal personality and own HTXLW\, to administer the National Housing Fund resources, as well as to establish and operate a financial system that allows its account holders to obtain an affordable mortgage.

INFONAVIT promotes housing solutions that improve people’s quality of life, foster sustainable development and enable the participation and collaboration of actors in the private sector, public sector, government and non-governmental organizations, national housing institutions and academia members. In this way, INFONAVIT leverages best practices through research, specific analysis of the communities’ needs, dwelling refurbishments and urban regeneration, in addition to using evaluation and monitoring tools.

Lack of reliable data lowered the quality of living

The three levels of government in Mexico (federal, state, and local) did not have a mechanism to facilitate analysis and comparison of urban areas and their towns (municipalities) with reliable data so that specific action plans and recommendations could be made to impact the quality of living. Measuring the impact of government actions and public policies was a challenge.

INFONAVIT, for its part, through this project has provided a system that monitors the impact of large-scale housing programs in the country's urban centers. The main priority of this project was to create a system to monitor the prosperity of the country's cities and the impact of public policies. A second priority was to identify and select the Municipalities in which the CPI would have the largest impact.

A tool to measure sustainable urban development

UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) is a global initiative that enables city authorities, as well as local and national stakeholders, to identify opportunities and potential areas of intervention for their cities to become more prosperous. Its composite index made of six dimensions serves to define targets and goals that can support the formulation of evidence-based policies, including the definition of city-visions and long- term plans that are both ambitious and measurable. Click here to learn more about the CPI.

Monitoring the impact of public policies and prosperity of cities in Mexico

The method followed in the project was divided into the following steps:

  1. Institutional framework, review of needs, risks, capabilities, and scope. Establishment of mechanisms to ensure Institutional sustainability.
  2. Adaptation of the CPI methodology to the Mexican context for its calculation. Creation of a monitoring system appropriate for the needs of the cities in the country and in response to the New Urban Agenda.
  3. Design of a first phase of replicability and expansion of the proposal. In addition to the fact that the CPI served as a methodological guide, conditions were created to replicate the exercise in its first phase in other cities.
  4. Collection and systematization of information. Inter-institutional teams were created at different levels of government and research was carried out to obtain all the information available for the construction of the basic CPI of the 153 municipalities.
  5. Establishing spatial indicators adjusted to the CPI methodology and country needs for territorial analysis. Infonavit and our associates created a strategy to survey space indicators that was homologated with international standards.
  6. Calculating the Basic CPI for 153 Municipalities. The calculation of the basic CPI was built upon the six dimensions of urban prosperity and was estimated according to the established methodology.
  7. Formulating 153 studies based on city reports. From the validated partial report, the analysis of results was carried out to extract strengths, weaknesses, trends and conclusions for each Municipality.
  8. Compilation of good practices in sustainable urban development. On the basis of the results and recommendations obtained, a catalog of best practices was integrated at national and international level that allows the enrichment of guidelines for action plans in the cities. The use of best practices allowed us to internalize what works well in other parts of the world, in this respect the Dubai Prize database was very useful in this process.
  9. Building the National Trends Report (synthesis document). In addition to the work at the Municipal level, an integrated analysis of the CPI results for the country and its regions was carried out to generate the National Trends Report of the state of prosperity of Mexican cities.
  10. Dissemination of results and delivery to Municipalities. The strategy to socialize and disseminate the results was designed and implemented to support to the different levels of government and actors to articulate efforts and create the appropriate conditions to implement action plans aimed at addressing the diagnosed areas of opportunity so that Cities can achieve a prosperous urban future.
  11. Definition of a long-term monitoring system. Infonavit designed a strategy to appropriately evaluate, monitor, and analyze Municipalities’ actions. The monitoring system on the CPI platform is the best guarantee of continuity and transfer of experience, and in itself constitutes a good practice, recognized at the national and international levels, which has inspired several cities and countries of the world to adapt similar systems.

51.4% of the country's total population and 69.7% of Mexico City urban population among the beneficiaries

Besides benefiting a considerable population in Mexico, other impacts of this initiative include:

  • Measuring urban prosperity for 153 municipalities in the country where most of Infonavit's loans are generated;
  • Diagnosing the state of the main factors that have an impact on the quality of housing and on the well-being of people;
  • The generation of new urban data that was made available to the public and which constitute a 'public good';
  • Creation of a permanent monitoring and follow-up system for the urban centers of the country that responds to the contextual needs of the cities and that is aligned with the recommendations of the New Urban Agenda and the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • To date, there are 153 reports containing the findings made by the CPI calculations validated by the municipalities. These reports present conclusions and recommendations for all the evaluated municipalities as well as an analysis of the state of urban legislation in Mexico.
  • A clear and tangible impact on the quality of life in Mexican cities with the preparation of plans of action that are beginning to be implemented in several cities (Mérida, Querétaro and Sinaloa)
  • Beneficiaries comprised of 51.4% of the country's total population and 69.7% of Mexico's urban population;
  • The repositioning of housing as a central axis of the country's urban policy; following the call of the New Urban Agenda to bring "Housing to the Center of Politics and Cities";
  • The integration of environmental protection as one of the central dimensions of prosperity and sustainability of cities as part of the structure of the CPI;
  • The replicability of a system as part of the prosperous cities initiative and which has been presented in various national and international forums as a best practice.

In case you missed the June edition of our Best Practice Monthly Feature, we highlighted the winning initiative for the Private Sector Award for contribution to territorial planning, urban planning and design category. The project ‘Safetipin’ is a mobile app and technology platform that collects and disseminates information and data about safety issues in a city.

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