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Municipal indicators

How can one guarantee the growth of medium size towns without imperiling the population's quality of life? How can one establish priorities for public investments in order to reduce social inequalities? With all of this in mind that researchers at the Human Geography Laboratory of the Sciences and Technology School of Unesp and officials the City of Presidente Prudente got together and created – with the support of FAPESP – the Geographical Intersectorial Information System (SIGI), a software capable of integrating various social indicators in order to guide decision making .

“Even though the financial resources come from the Federal and State governments, the 1988 Constitution gave to the cities more autonomy and responsibility in the implementation of public policies”, says the coordinator of the project, Eliseu Savério Sposito, of Unesp in Presidente Prudente.

“The idea behind the project is to produce a cheap piece of software, of simple operation, which, once installed in the city hall's computers, can be fed with data that is normally found dispersed” explains Sposito. In the initial phase, the program generated a map, that the researchers call the map of social exclusion in the municipality of Presidente Prudente. This will allow for agility in making decisions in emergency situations, such as, for example, in an outbreak of dengue fever.

Now in the second phase, the researchers are expanding the number of variables and perfecting the design of the software. After experimenting in Presidente Prudente, the program is going to go through testing in other cities. “Our goal was to give the cities an instrument to help them promote social inclusion” are Sposito's words. “We can't say that this will really happen, but we can at least guarantee that if it doesn't happen it won't be for the lack of information.”