Social Lab Cúcuta

Laboratorio Social Cúcuta - an initiative undertaken as part of the Social Lab program in collaboration with Mi Sangres Foundation - delved deep into the heart of Cúcuta, a vibrant city grappling with the challenges arising from the digitalization of security, and explored its profound impact on the social fabric of society. Held in March 2023, the project aimed to shed light on tensions and their far-reaching consequences, with a strong focus on identifying solutions to build a safer, more inclusive community. Throughout the project, our team engaged with young community members and stakeholders from the social, private and public sectors in Cúcuta to gather insights, share knowledge, and collaboratively seek solutions.

Fundación Mi Sangre. Illustration: Flávia Lozano, Larissa Oliveria

The Laboratorio Social Cúcuta seeks to contribute to positive change in the city by presenting well-researched findings, innovative ideas, and actionable recommendations to local authorities, organizations, and the community at large. Our ultimate goal is to create a safer and more harmonious Cúcuta, where the advantages of digitalization coexist with the protection of fundamental human rights and the wellbeing of every citizen.

The city of Cúcuta faced an array of problems, which were at the forefront of the Laboratorio Social project:

  1. Theft
  2. Sexual and Commercial Exploitation of Children and Adolescents
  3. Right to the City
  4. Child Migration
  5. Gender-Based Violence
  6. Homicides

Fundación Mi Sangre. Illustration: Flávia Lozano, Larissa Oliveira

Laboratorio Social Cúcuta yielded significant findings, interpreting the risks and challenges arising from the application of technology to security and coexistence. The project's main discoveries are as follows:

  1. Labeling and Profiling: One of the most critical risks associated with the digitalization of security is the potential for labeling or profiling individuals based on personal characteristics. This practice can render certain groups more vulnerable to surveillance and discrimination, posing a threat to their fundamental rights and freedoms.
  2. Centralization of Information: The digitalization of security demands informed decision-making processes. To achieve this, the Laboratorio Social Cúcuta proposed centralizing all available information related to crime, coexistence, socioeconomic factors, and spatial dynamics. Such a comprehensive information system would benefit the Municipal Administration, social organizations, and citizens seeking to understand the dynamics of their city.

In response to these findings, the Laboratorio Social Cúcuta collective came up with a proposal: the creation of an innovative information system that serves multiple crucial purposes, such as:

  1. Resource Allocation: The information system aims to establish the necessary physical space, technological infrastructure, human resources, and financial capital required for its successful implementation.
  2. Centralization of Data: The system will collect and centralize information from various institutional sources. This data will be carefully classified and made accessible to the agencies responsible for security and coexistence planning.
  3. Preventive Strategies: By leveraging the gathered data, the information system will facilitate the development of effective preventive strategies to address security and coexistence challenges proactively. The team proposed the development of an innovative app.
  4. Public Participation: The app would serve as a platform for citizens to input real-time information on the current state of Cúcuta. By enabling citizen engagement, the proposed app seeks to bridge the gap between the community and decision-makers, promoting a shared responsibility for safety and coexistence.
  5. Data Analysis: Utilizing the data provided by citizens through the app, the system will conduct thorough analyses to identify trends, patterns, and potential areas of concern.
  6. Evidence-Based Decision Making: Regularly delivering comprehensive reports based on the collected data, the system will support evidence-based decision-making processes. These reports will serve as a foundation for crafting effective public policies on security and coexistence.

By fostering collaboration between the community, Laboratorio Social Cúcuta's recommendations aspire to create a safer and more harmonious city. The project's proposed information system and app offer a pathway towards a safer, more informed, and inclusive Cúcuta.

The project's final report is available for your access here.

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