Beyond the Street

The purpose of this work is to study the socio-urban environment of a mid-sized city in Mexico from the perspective of young people who experience a situation of social marginalization. The study is conducted in the context of a mobile crowdsourcing experiment that addresses the following research questions: 1) How can mobile crowdsourcing methodologies be used to incentivize marginalized youth to document their socio-urban environment by collecting data with a mobile app?


2) What tensions arise between research and practical implementation of a mobile crowd- sourcing experiment carried out with the help of marginalized youth? 3) How is the application used in the field, and what are the features of the collected data with regard to youth’s outlook on their socio-urban environment? 4) How useful is the information distilled from these data to support the development of public policies that address social marginalization issues?


Our research to support marginalized youth in Leon City was conducted in response to the needs of the Municipal Institute of Youth (MIY). This institution is in charge of integrating local youth into public policy programs that foster their integral development. The initial goal of our collaboration with MIY was to examine the social and urban problems affecting groups of marginalized youth from the perspective of their own members.


Our research was conducted in seven stages: The first stage (identification) comprised of several meetings between of our research group and collaborators from MIY and Guanajuato’s Youth Institute. The second stage (formulation) consisted of a series of work sessions aimed at: (a) sharing with our collaborators our experiences about using mobile crowdsourcing techniques for participatory sensing in Mexican cities;


(b) learning about marginalized youth in Leon City from multidisciplinary team of government specialists, and (c) establishing the inclusion criteria that de ned our target population. During the third stage (codesign) our research team was joined by a team of specialized youth workers and lead government official from MIY to codesign a Social Engagement Data Challenge (SEDC) (SEE).


During the fourth stage (platform deployment) our research team and collaborators: a) worked together to adapt and deploy a crowdsourcing platform that was used for data collection during the SEDC; and b) integrated a facilitator team to coordinate and execute led work during the SEDC. The fifth stage (orchestration) was conducted by members of the facilitator team and several groups of young people living in several neighborhoods of the city.



Mixed methods were used in the sixth stage (data analysis) to distill information from the data collected during the SEDC. The last stage (outcome) comprised two kinds of activities: 1) meetings to discuss and reflect about the results and endings of the SEDC, and 2) the organization an official conference to present the outcome of our research to government officials and decision makers, including members of the local congress.



Evidence collected during the SEDC include:1816 pictures, 69 interviews and 44 group surveys.