96. The importance of local city management: impact in the public administration of cities with Luís Newton

Welcome to the 4th episode of Season 11: Future Cities of the Productized Podcast. In this episode, André is speaking with Luís Newton, the President of Estrela’s Borough in Lisbon. Luís has been in this role for almost 9 years, although he is working in this field in total for over 20 years.

In municipal administration since 2001, he has held various functions in this area, both in the former Borough Council of Lapa and in the Lisbon City Council and in the Lisbon Municipal Assembly. He was also an advisor to the Secretary of State for Culture between July 2011 and November 2012 and was later appointed Advisor to the PSD Parliamentary Group until October 2013. In 2013 he was elected President of the Borough Council of Estrela. It has sought to take advantage of the opportunity of the Administrative Reform of the City of Lisbon to modernise systems of service to the community, from the integration of “CRM”-type models for contact with the population to “smart city” solutions for territorial management and optimisation of means and resources.

Main topics covered:

🤔 Why did Luís decide to dedicate his life to public service?

🧑🏼‍💼 What is it like to be a people person?

🚀 City digitalisation process and difficulties

💭 Life in Estrela Borough in Lisbon

Time notes:

Introduction of the guest [1:20]

How does a day of President of the Borough look like [2:00]

How helping for Ukraine is being organized: humanitarian support, housing, education [4:30]

How did Luís decide to dedicate his life to politics and people [11:00]

First Luís job in Borough of Lapa [12:00]

“You’ll end your term hearing only transportations, sports, youth and traffic.”

Naval engineering at IST — would Luís like to be working in that field now [15:30]

“Son, you don’t get fully appreciated for what you are doing in the military.”

What age did Luís start in politics — family history in politics and its influence on Luís’s decision [18:00]

What were Luís’s priorities in the last 2 terms; TOP 3 priorities of Estrela Borough now [23:00]

“We have to be able to allow our own organization to adapt to new realities at any given moment.”

A basis of management in Estrela’s borough — voting for people’s ideas on the app [30:30]

Estrela has an excellent President, or a great team? [36:30]

How to explain political legislative flow to a 6-year-old child [37:00]

Who is the boss of the President of the Borough?[42:00]

How to encourage people to be more participative in politics [43:45]

Most of our work is creating ways to get people engaged.

How to pitch Estrela to working parents [46:30]

Pitching Estrela for Gen Z — it is the most instagrammable district of Lisbon [49:50]

Can Estrela be less car-dependent and more bike-friendly? [52:30]

Expansion of Gira bikes to Estrela [57:20]

What does Luís think that boroughs should do? [1:00:00]

Best practices of work at the borough [1:05:00]

Budgets of boroughs and salary of presidents [1:07:00]

How can law change the lives of boroughs [1:09:30]

We have to be the problem-solvers for each of our constituents. Isn’t this why we were re-elected?

What did the jury consider as most important in your work to have awarded you in the role of CIO [1:15:00]

City apps merging and development ideas [1:17:00]

Should Lisbon be having a CTO, CIO or COO [1:21:00]

How many months does it take to start fully working after being elected [1:25:30]

If Luís had the superpower to change anything about government policy, what would it be? [1:28:00]

Removing the train line between the city and the river[1:30:00]

Envisioning the use of technology to improve people’s lives [1:33:15]

Quantum computing as a new technology Luís would learn if he had three months [1:35:40]

Trends in population change in Estrela borough [1:38:40]

What advice would Luís give to his younger self [1:40:20]

Always keep full trust in yourself.

What would Luís recommend to visit in Estrela [1:43:00]

Luís recommends:

🌮 Brunch in Santos, Estrela

📕 Benjamin Barber “If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities”


This podcast was hosted by André Marquet, with research done by Evelina Bogdiun and sound edited by Miguel Sousa.

The Productized Podcast is a series of interviews with product innovators, successful makers, and entrepreneurs. We hope to inspire the listeners of this show to be courageous and productize!

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