Call for Proposals: Consultancy on Urban Futures in a Digital World

October 8, 2020

Fundamental decisions on social justice, economic opportunity and sustainability are taken at local levels. Cities and metropolitan areas in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America confront deep social, economic and ecological challenges. Their responses will play a decisive role in shaping the future for people and the planet. Decentralization, a growing recognition of local leadership,  the digital transformation and  inspiring initiatives – from civic innovation labs to local open government reforms – offer opportunities to boost the urban commons, where communities manage space, nature, culture, knowledge, finances & infrastructure in a participatory way. Yet, too few sub-national governments are expanding opportunities for informed &  meaningful civic participation and co-creation. Digital opportunities are often seized first by already powerful actors, often with discriminatory effects. New approaches are needed to overcome the deep inequalities exposed anew by Covid-19, and to imagine and build inclusive and sustainable urban futures. 

Through this pilot, we will engage civic innovators in selected developing & emerging countries to map interest, needs and opportunities to boost deliberative, agile exploration and action. The pilot will explore the following questions: How do people imagine the future of the urban, the civics, the commons? What models and approaches are being tested, where and how? What can we learn about building citizen-centered urban governance, models of local co-creation of the commons? How does the digital transformation shape challenges and opportunities?


  1. Rapid mapping of relevant initiatives in the global South 
  2. Workshop with 10-15 civic and local government leaders working from 2-3 cities
  3. Consultation paper/pitch outlining a potential approach, focus & key stakeholders for a new program trajectory

Requirements & Methodology: 

Hivos is looking for an international consultant with background in urban development/ governance/participatory democracy, urban commons, who will:

  • Critique and help us sharpen the initial concept, and produce a rapid mapping of relevant initiatives (with input from Hivos)
  • Co-create the invitation list and engage 15-20 participants for the initial workshop
  • Design and lead the initial workshop (to be held before 15 December 2020)
  • Produce a short consultation paper/pitch, based on input from the workshop
  • Work with Hivos to advise on next steps


Estimated time requirement for this work is 20-25 consultancy days at a day-rate to be agreed upon between consultant and Hivos.

Expressions of Interest: 

We invite interested individuals and organizations (non-profit organizations, social enterprises, or similar) to send us a brief Expression of Interest by 23 October of no more than 5 pages, including: a brief outline of their proposed approach, relevant experience/track record, and estimated work effort and day rate.

Contact: Conrad Zellmann,