The program “Yo le Voy a Hermosillo” (I go with him to Hermosillo) is an effort to strengthen the shared communal identity of Hermosillo’s residents, to create a sense of co-responsibliity among the collective residents of the municipality and their city council members and representatives. The first aspect of this project is to generate a sense of identification among the city’s residents with the larger community of Hermosillo, that is to say, not with the municipal government per se, but with the shared social spaces common to all city residents. This is achieved through promoting civic responsibility, developing pride in property, and reinforcing the traditional regional identity of the culture of the state of Sonora. The second aspect of the project is to use this shared identity to combat individual social wrongdoing.
The foundation characteristic of this initiative in Hermosillo is a campaign of social communication and marketing. The municipality promoted various traditional elements of local identity to create a collective sense of an Hermosillo community. Of course, community-building is not the end goal of the project; rather, this encuraging civic cooperation and shared identity is a tool to encourage citizens to consider how their actions as individuals can have an impact on the community’s health as a whole. The two primary areas in which innovaters hoped this consciousness-raising would have an effect were to combat wasteful water use and to address the increase of traffic accidents caused by ignoring transportation regulations. The program’s goals were to promote urban solidarity, to moderate municipal resource consumption, and to encourage obediance to the law.
The Mayor of Hermosillo was able to generate citizen participation both in the planning and in the implementation of the project by integrating city employees and contracted members of civil society into the leadership structure. The City Council was responsible for the technical evaluation of the results of the marketing campaign. This allowed policy makers to consider which methods were most effective in spreading awareness of the project’s goals. The Council used telephone surveys to get citizen feedback for their campaign’s efforts, which demonstrated the commitment on the part of the planners to see the campaign through to its conclusion and evaluate its effectiveness.
The most important contribution of the “I Go With Him to Hermosillo” project is that it is based on integration of civil society groups into municipal leadership while still allowing oversight and self-evaluation by the centralized body of the City Council. The administrative management of the program goes beyond traditional civil servants to include members of the community who were targeted by the campaign. A second advantage was the improvement of the general position of the City Council within Hermosillo’s urban culture, introducing its members to the diverse and fluid social realities of their constituencies. Although culture is a vague and ineffable target for a campaign, the measurable goals of improved traffic safety and rational expenditures of natural resources made subsequent evaluation of the marketing campaign feasible. A third significant contribution of Hermosillo’s innovative marketing campaign was to improve solidarity among its residents by devolving and decentralizing the project’s management to include local citizens.