100En1Día is a project for citizens to make their dreams come true through urban actions that take place during the course of one day. Started in Bogota in 2012, the project leaders aimed to show average citizens their power to transform their city through urban actions, even if on a small scale. The initiative’s final goal is to show urban dwellers that they shouldn’t wait until their problems are solved, as they are also co-creators, co-participants, and responsible for their own city. They are the city.
The initiative has helped citizens overcome a major fear to act in their public space. Participants have feared retaliation from authorities, even if they are doing no wrong. The intimidation has faded after several years of the celebration, and, as Lia Valero, co-founder of 100En1Dia adds, “These actions are the greatest proof that a citizen can be an example of something really good.”
Doña Esperanza is a great example of both, a single citizen’s power to effect change and the initiative's appeal to participants of all ages. From the beginning, she encouraged an intervention to reduce traffic accidents in Marsella, her neighborhood in Bogotá. She wrote to the local mayor, and after two years, a traffic light was placed in one of the most dangerous road crossings of the area.
100En1Día has been a generator of new urban movements and has inspired citizen initiatives in their capacity to promote urban transformation at local level. Nowadays, it has been replicated in 13 countries and almost 30 cities. It has with more than 60,000 participants worldwide and since its creation, it has hosted 4,000 interventions throughout South and Central America, Europe, Canada, and South Africa.
The initiative has evolved organically in different countries. While most of the initiatives in Latin-America seek to occupy and claim the public space, most of the actions in European countries highlight the need for citizens to connect with each other.
“100 en 1 dia is more than anything a catalyst for change and this catalyst is for people to understand what it means to be an active citizen” says David Serna, also a co-founder of the initiative.
Right now, the main challenge facing the initiative is to remain independent of governments and to remain a citizens’ movement for citizens. To guarantee this independence, organizers intend to create a platform for cities to exchange information and allow an easier way of exchanging information, promoting knowledge transfer and enhancing joint innovation.
After almost 5 years of its creation, “100 en 1 dia” has spread like wildfire around the world. Every day, more and more citizens join the initiative and take the streets of their cities to claim their rights through imaginative, peaceful and creative actions that bring the change towards a more human city.