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Destination? Care Blocks!

Summarizing the proceedings of two studios focused on addressing mobility-related inequalities

Posted on 27th of June 2023 by Uma Kalkar, Stefaan Verhulst, Natalia González Alarcón, Hannah Chafetz, Diana Rodríguez Franco, Bapu Vaitla

Destination? Care Blocks!
Destination? Care Blocks!

This blog details the proceedings of the first of two Studios focused on creating a new data collaborative that addresses mobility-related issues affecting the use of Care Blocks in the City of Bogotá. Learn more about The GovLab’s work on data collaboratives at

“Time poverty” caused by unpaid care work overload, such as washing, cleaning, cooking, and caring for their care-receivers is a structural consequence of gender inequality. In the City of Bogotá, 1.2 million women — 30% of their total women’s population — carry out unpaid care work full-time. If such work was compensated, it would represent 13% of Bogotá’s GDP and 20% of the country’s GDP. Moreover, the care burden falls disproportionately on women’s shoulder and prevents them from furthering their education, achieving financial autonomy, participating in their community, and tending to their personal wellbeing.

To address the care burden and its spillover consequences on women’s economic autonomy, well-being and political participation, in October 2020, Bogotá Mayor Claudia López launched the Care Block Initiative. Care Blocks, or Manzanas del cuidado, are centralized areas for women’s economic, social, medical, educational, and personal well-being and advancement. They provide services simultaneously for caregivers and care-receivers.

As the program expands from 19 existing Care Blocks to 45 Care Blocks by the end of 2035, decision-makers face another issue: mobility is a critical and often limiting factor for women when accessing Care Blocks in Bogotá.

On May 19th, 2023, The GovLabData2X, and the Secretariat for Women’s Affairs, in the City Government of Bogotá co-hosted a studio that aimed to scope a purposeful and gender-conscious data collaborative that addresses mobility-related issues affecting the access of Care Blocks in Bogotá. Convening experts across the gender, mobility, policy, and data ecosystems, the studio focused on (1) prioritizing the critical questions as it relates to mobility and access to Care Blocks and (2) identifying the data sources and actors that could be tapped into to set up a new data collaborative.

Following the studio, the organizing team conducted a brainstorming session to synthesize the insights gathered and develop an action plan towards a new data collaborative. Four actionable questions that emerged during the studio and the next steps for the second studio are summarized below.

Key Takeaways

Several critical questions and insights about the relationship between mobility and the Care Blocks emerged during the first studio. In what follows, we outline four actionable questions that stood out most.

1. How is the journey to the Care Blocks experienced today?

Making Care Blocks more accessible starts by understanding how caregivers and care-receivers currently move to access them (and identify those that don’t). There is an opportunity to leverage non-traditional data sources (e.g. mobile phone data, payment tracking, Twitter data, Foursquare data and GPS data) to better understand the origin and destination (OD) and the routes and transportation methods they use to get to and from the Care Blocks and when they typically access them.

2. What are the different modes of transportation used to reach the Care Blocks?

There is a clear intersection of services and mobility that can explain the relationship between the trips and the reason behind these. Several methods of transportation can be used to access the Care Blocks. Mobility surveys, for example, can help understand why, when, where, and how a trip is completed, which can be used to develop a more complete understanding of how Care Blocks can be accessed.

3. How are the different Care Blocks experienced?

Each Care Block has unique service offerings depending on demographic and socio-economic information. There is a need to understand what services are available, being used the most and have repeat users. These insights can help design services that are aligned with attendee needs.

4. What is the relationship between access to mobility and access to services?

The obstacles that caregivers and receivers may face in their journey to the Care Blocks range widely. There are many possible variables that could be explored–from travel time and traffic counts data to crime incidents and transit fares from different areas. There is an opportunity to gather data about lived experiences and identify these variables.

Next Steps

Leveraging these insights, we hope to co-design an actionable data collaborative focused on understanding how the Care Blocks are accessed.

During the next Studio, we will seek to identify the data sources and actors, such as CDR data from mobile phones or GPS tracking data from ride-hailing services or bike-sharing data, that could be combined with existing data (e.g. transit fare card data from transit providers) in order to gain further clarity on what the journey to a Care Block looks like.

In addition, we will examine the different methods that can be used. For instance, by incorporating spatial analysis techniques, we may be able to explore origin-destination patterns, translate travel times into isochrone maps, and identify traffic congestion levels to enhance our understanding of urban mobility dynamics within the context of Care Block access.

Finally, we will reflect on the type of data collaborative that would enable access to the data and expertise needed.


Do you think data collaboratives could help your socially-conscious initiative? Professionals interested in collaborating with The GovLab can contact Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder & Chief Research and Development Officer at [email protected].

About The Governance Lab at New York University

The Governance Lab’s mission is to improve people’s lives by changing the way we govern. Our goal at The GovLab is to strengthen the ability of institutions — including but not limited to governments — and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively, and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. We believe that increased availability and use of data, new ways to leverage the capacity, intelligence, and expertise of people in the problem-solving process, combined with new advances in technology and science, can transform governance. We approach each challenge and opportunity in an interdisciplinary, collaborative way, irrespective of the problem, sector, geography, and level of government. For more information, visit the

About Data2X

Data2X is a technical and advocacy platform dedicated to improving the quality, availability, and use of gender data in order to make a practical difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide. Working in partnership with multilateral agencies, governments, civil society, academics, and the private sector, Data2X mobilizes action for and strengthens production and use of gender data.

About the Secretariat for Women’s Affairs, from the City Government of Bogotá

The Secretariat for Women’s Affairs is a local governing body within the City Government of Bogotá. The Secretariat leads and guides policies, strategies, and initiatives focused on women’s needs, women’s rights, and gender equity, with an express goal of promoting women’s autonomy and eliminating any form of discrimination and violence towards women. The Secretariat works with other entities in the Mayor’s Office to develop transversal public policy approaches to support women.

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