A Manifesto to Reimagine Medellín’s Urban Social Contract in the Digital Age


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Seeking to promote a citizen dialogue that can take place at all levels of society, allowing room for dissent, demands, ruptures, affirmations, hopes and contradictions, but above all the desire to mobilize and be drivers of change; We, a group of young people participants of "Te estamos grabando" declare; as a result of in-depth conversations with experts, our own experience walking and thinking about this city and taking into account a series of approaches, reflections and learnings on the use of technologies for security and surveillance in Medellin.

We, the youth, ask: How to find consensus? How to understand, weave, and imagine a new social contract? How to transcend conflict and embrace the complexity of this city that has seen us grow and change our minds? Curiosity has led us to question every certainty, to inhabit the world of questions and provisional answers; to fathom the transcendental role and the urgent task of building a social platform for dialogue that allows us to meet and recognize diversity, horizontally, in the power of change and in the sensitivity for life and human dignity, how do we recognize ourselves through the cracks so we can see on the horizon the light that shines over Medellín?

Now, therefore, we raise our voice to declare:

·   We demand a city where it is possible to live and not just survive; empathic, supportive and compassionate citizenship; a Medellín that can be inhabited without fear, with spaces for everyone, public, illuminated, connected and habitable.

·   We believe in a city that enables encounters of different realities, where human diversity can be found in our neighborhoods, to measure coexistence as the antithesis of insecurity.

·   Our city must promote self and mutual care, key principles for an ethics of citizenship and collective action.

·   We, citizens, are ought to call for actions that seek to build from dissent, through dialogue; where we allow ourselves to recognize our emotions, build peace and collective memory, say no to violence, externalize our pain and inhabit our ideas.

·   We demand from the actors and interest groups of the city: transparency, fair play, responsibility and ethical action; that institutions know and recognize the social context, the territory and the needs of the communities, especially the most vulnerable.

·   As young people we are convinced that it is necessary to make visible the responsibility and power of those who use digital technologies for security and surveillance, whether for public or private purposes.

·   We demand high quality public policies for security and surveillance that based on evidence, with comprehensive, holistic, humanistic and cultural approaches.

·   We demand that policy impact evaluations are performed constantly. We demand explainable local policies and plans that foresee use of technologies for surveillance and security, that they be publicized and that their results be open and available to all the inhabitants of the territory.

·   We consider urgent the application of ethical principles in the implementation of digital technologies for security and surveillance of the population to guarantee non-discrimination and respect for human dignity and freedom.

·   Medellín requires comprehensive governance with strong networks of citizen oversight for the design and implementation of security and surveillance policies.

·   We recognize the importance of actions of care for individuals and community; care for those who oversee and guard democracy in those spaces for citizen participation.

·   We demand responsible, transparent, and ethical management and use of information including knowledge and wisdom extracted from personal data as used for local surveillance and security policies.

·   It is urgent to strengthen the people's capacity to make informed decisions on matters related to security and technological surveillance, so that the privacy and intimacy of people is protected and guaranteed.