Measure to manage: Do-it-yourself report cards are better than global city rankings

Don't wait for a foreign group to assess you, as some cities have learnt.

Mahim Maher January 21, 2013
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KARACHI: One solution is for Pakistan's cities to start with performance indicators. If anyone wants to see how this has worked they only need to go to Bogota's Cómovamos (How are we doing?) index that measures local performance for health, education, mobility and even poverty and equality.

You even get to see how it did under each mayor in a comparative graph. Other tools include citizen report cards, successfully used in 2008 by the Karachi water and sewage board. The only downside is, of course, that you can't hide from the results: KWSB discovered from 4,500 interviews of people from 18 towns that only 10% of them were satisfied with its performance.

Ellen Hamilton, a World Bank Lead Land and Housing Specialist, thinks rankings can be useful for incentivizing change. For example, the country Doing Business rankings have in the last 10 years gone from a small start-up idea to a framework where countries are saying, "we do badly on this ranking and we want to do better." And several countries have been really successful at moving themselves forward.

She cites the Global City Indicators Facility as an interesting attempt to get cities to participate in a program that would allow for comparison. All Karachi would have to do is sign up.



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