Visualizing urban poverty to reshape community


March 2015 — Part of addressing any problem is identifying it for what it is. In the case of overcoming poverty, we need to know not only what it is, but where it is. Mapping urban poverty allows root causes of inequalities to be diagnosed and the impact of potential solutions to be strengthened. With mapping technologies more available and advanced than ever, cities across the Global South have new opportunities to read, understand, and improve their spatial environments.

This month’s discussion examines how data visualization and mapping can be employed to diagnose problems, build identity, fuel participation, and drive policy change. Follow the conversation as it unfolds over the course of March and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ayorek! Membangun pengetahuan dinamis perkotaan

Surabaya, 26 Maret 2015 — Jarang ditemui perkotaan memiliki system pengetahuan dinamis yang bisa digunakan sebagai landasan pengambilan keputusan oleh Pemerintah. Namun Surabaya memilikinya. Dengan open source platform bernama Ayorek! dibangunlah sebuah wadah bercerita dan dialog dari masyarakat untuk membangun sebuah pengetahuan perkotaan. Baca lebih lanjut.

Building strategic intelligence for 'city-regions': an interview with Guy Trangoš on the Gauteng City-Region Observatory in South Africa

Johannesburg, 25 March 2015 — Extending beyond traditionally more spatially delimited notions of a city, many modern cities now approximate to large, polycentric 'city-regions' with multiple governance structures. Centred round South Africa's Gauteng province, the Gauteng City-Region is a cluster of cities (Johannesburg and Pretoria), towns, and urban nodes that together make up the economic heartland and most densely populated part of the country. In 2008 the Gauteng City-Region Observatory' was established to build "strategic intelligence" to grasp this large, complex, and dynamic space. See more.

Mapeando São Paulo insurgente

São Paulo, 24 março 2015 — O número de edifícios ocupados por sem-teto cresce rapidamente em São Paulo, mas apesar disso o movimento popular de luta por moradia continua invisível para muitos paulistas. Um workshop de cartografia procurou revelar estas práticas urbanas insurgentes que estão transformando o centro da cidade e a vida dos ocupantes. Leia mais.

Rede social torna visíveis problemas de infraestrutura antes "invisíveis"

Curitiba, 23 março 2015 — Prático e intuitivo, Colab.re despertou nos indivíduos a consciência de seu papel de guardiões da cidade e diminuiu a distância entre as necessidades dos residentes e a possibilidade de intervenção do poder público. Em um ano, foram cerca de 3 700 interações e aproximadamente 1 450 casos resolvidos graças à ferramenta. Leia mais.

Transport data visualizations tell powerful stories

Mumbai, 20 March 2015 — What happens when numbers come alive in colorfully graphic ways? EMBARQ India and Urban Mobility India launched the Data Visualization Challenge to see how transport data could tell new stories and, perhaps, have a bigger impact on how we see our cities. See more.

المؤسسات التعليمة كأداة للتنمية وتخطيط وتطوير عشوائيات القاهرة

Cairo, 19 March 2015 — طالما أغفلت الحكومات دور الجامعات ككيانات مستقلة فاعلة ذات أهمية وقدرة على إحداث تغيير، لكن مبادرة جامعة حلوان لتطوير العشوائيات المحيطة بالجامعة غيرت هذا المفهوم وأثبتت جدوى المبادرات التي تنخرط فيها الجامعات. اقرأ المزيد عن ذلك

Uso de SIG en la elaboración de los planes de mejoramiento de barrios en Bogotá

Bogotá, 18 marzo 2015 — Los Sistemas de Información Geográfica juegan un papel crucial a la hora de diseñar los planes de mejoramiento de barrio. En Bogotá estos sistemas están siendo utilizados para diseñar los planes para los recientemente legalizados barrios ilegales que se habían establecido en áreas protegidas de los Cerros Orientales. Leer más.

Mapa Rápido Participativo revela as principais necessidades nas favelas pacificadas

Rio de Janeiro, 17 março 2015 — Programa de mapeamento e visualização de dados construído com o auxílio das comunidades destaca o caráter heterogêneo das regiões, desvenda seus diferentes níveis de desenvolvimento e ajuda a direcionar políticas públicas para áreas mais necessitadas. Leia mais.

نقشه فقر و مشکلات آن

Tehran, 16 March 2015 — نفشه ای کردن فقر در ایران، به نوعی همزمان با طرح های توانمند سازی سکونتگاههای غیررسمی آغاز شد. گام اول برای تهیه این طرح ها تعیین مرز سکونتگاههای غیررسمی است که فرآیندی مهم و نسبتا پیچیده است. این کار به طیف وسیعی از اطلاعات اجتماعی، اقتصادی و کالبدی نیاز دارد که بدون همکاری گسترده مدیران توسعه شهری میسر نخواهد شد. ادامه مطلب.

Sistema IDESC, al servicio de la municipalidad y de los ciudadanos

Cali, 13 marzo 2015 — Los SIG pueden ser unas herramientas formidables a la hora de identificar problemas sociales y también en la formulación y el monitoreo de las soluciones a dichos problemas. Cali está desarrollando un SIG abierto al público que ya ha sido utilizado por NGOs para definir programas y prioridades. Leer más.

Monitoring banjir Jakarta dengan Twitter

Jakarta, 12 Maret 2015 — Banjir tahunan di Jakarta membutuhkan lebih dari solusi klasik yang selama ini diterapkan oleh pemerintah. Inovasi yang baru diluncurkan adalah PetaJakarta.org, sebuah website berbasis open source yang memberikan informasi banjir berdasar Twit dari masyarakat dan disajikan secara real-time untuk membantu pemerintah menangani banjir dengan cepat. Baca lebih lanjut.

Áp dụng GIS trong quy hoạch trạm cứu hỏa đô thị: Giành lấy từng phút quý giá

Ho Chi Minh City, 11 Tháng Ba 2015 — Với dân cư đông đúc cùng nhiều kho hàng và khu ổ chuột chật chội, TP. HCM luôn đối mặt với hiểm hoạ cháy, đe doạ cuộc sống và tài sản của người dân. Nhận thấy mối đe doạ này, một nhóm nghiên cứu quyết định hỗ trợ các chiến sĩ PCCC rút ngắn thời gian tác nghiệp bằng cách áp dụng công nghệ hệ thống thông tin địa lý (GIS). Xem thêm.

Mapping Bangalore's waste

Bangalore, 10 March 2015 — Bangalore's waste pickers normally recycle computer parts, but they are now using technology to track and trace trash in the city. I Got Garbage aims to revolutionize waste picking and, in doing so, better manage the city's 4,000 tonnes of trash produced every day. See more.

Nairobi, a global leader in using data informatics and mapping quality of life

Nairobi, 9 March 2015 — The explosion in the use of mapping and data analytics to identify hotspots of insecurity and vulnerability has been directly aided by Kenyan developers, technologists, and the entrepreneurial spirit pulsating in Nairobi. See more.

¿En dónde identificó la pobreza urbana en el DF?

Mexico D.F., 6 marzo 2015 — Antes del 2004 se desconocían las cifras de pobreza en México; el surgimiento de la Ley General de Desarrollo Social permitió la creación de un instituto autónomo para la medición de la pobreza desde un enfoque integral. El marco normativo e institucional ha dado pie a la identificación y visualización georreferenciada de la pobreza en el DF desde el ámbito público y de la sociedad civil. Leer más.

The portal for government transparency: Aiding public awareness through infographics

Lagos, 5 March 2015 — Gaining access to information and understanding that information are two separate issues: data that's been gathered is often hard to interpret. BudgIt is an organization whose mission is to bring clarity to modern-day issues and governance performances through new media techniques, providing much desired clarity to the public. See more.

Crecimiento espontáneo de los barrios en Caracas

Caracas, 4 marzo 2015 — La ciudad informal permanece ausente en mapas principalmente por su condición temporal, su transformación continua y su carácter "informal". Sin embargo, nuevas tecnologías han aumentado las posibilidades del "mapeo de barrios". En Caracas, Enlace Arquitectura, una firma de arquitectura local, inició un proyecto de investigación para mapear el crecimiento de los asentamientos informales desde 1966 hasta el presente. Leer más.

চট্টগ্রামের পথ-বাসীদের সমস্যা চিহ্নিত, পরিমাপন, এবং সমাধানে জড়িত এনজিও

Chittagong, 3 March 2015 — ১৯৮৭ সালে সাজিদা ফাউন্ডেশন প্রতিষ্ঠিত হয়, যেটি ২০০৮ সালে "আমরাও মানুষ: উই আর পিপল টু" নামের একটি প্রকল্প শুরু করে। এই প্রকল্পের উদ্দেশ্য মৌলিক চাহিদা থেকে বঞ্চিত এবং রাস্তায় বাস করা মানুষকে বাসস্থান সুবিধা এবং স্বাস্থ্য, শিক্ষা, প্রযুক্তিগত এবং দক্ষতা বৃদ্ধি প্রশিক্ষণের মত সামাজিক সেবা প্রদান করা। তারা কার্যকর হস্তক্ষেপ নিশ্চিত করার জন্য চাহিদা সংক্রান্ত তথ্য সংগ্রহের উপর ব্যাপকভাবে জোর দেয়। See more.

Filling a vacuum: Efforts to map and enumerate Lilongwe

Lilongwe, 2 March 2015 — Civil society actors in Lilongwe are generating their own maps and data to understand urban poverty due to a gap in official statistics. Initiatives include participatory community mapping efforts as well as an open geospatial database. But more could be done. See more.

 

Join the discussion on visualizing urban poverty in the comments below.

 
You can also join our February discussion on work, leverage, and leadership for poor urban youth.


Join the discussion for this month's topic!

Comments

María Fernanda Carvallo's picture

Ana Cristina, gracias por el artículo, fue muy ilustrativo en el sentido de dar a conocer como una metodología puede demostrar el desarrollo de los asentamientos informales. En la ciudad de México hay avances con los mapas georeferenciados para visualizar en donde se encuentra la pobreza, no obstante aún existe una gran área de oportunidad para lograr entender en donde se ubican los asentamientos informales, las zonas de la ciudad con las que colindan, el número de población que albergan y la forma en la que la población se asienta. Cada una de los municipios del Distrito Federal menciona en su plan de desarrollo urbano los asentamientos que tiene y su ubicación; no obstante hay un gran hueco en la información disponible para poder dimensionar los grandes retos de este fenómeno para hacer una ciudad mas incluyente.

Andréa Azambuja's picture

Hi, Ana Cristina,

Thank you for your article, it was very interesting. We know understanding the growth of informal settlements are essential to plan public policies and interventions and, as you and Maria Fernanda pointed, there's still a large gap between the information available and reality. Somehow, the barrios (in Brazil, our favelas) remain invisible in a way, they are considered for many as separated parts of the city. And that's how mapping projects like this go beyond in its importance, they are also inclusive by promoting the recognition by the residents and the general population of these living spaces as part of the city, not temporary, not (totally) forgotten settlements. As you pointed out, some of them are just as old as the city's first skyscrapers, and this recognition is very important.

Andréa Azambuja's picture

Hi Wura,
Thanks for your article. I was reading it and found interesting this idea of "translating" public budgets and information, despite the problems you mentioned. Here in Brazil, this issue (having access to public spending) has gained prominence since 2011, when the Law of Access to Information was regulated (although this is a right foreseen in our Constitution since 1988), but I haven't seen anything like this come up, it's a new way of thinking / exploring the issue. I'm curious: is there any accompanying campaign also urging people to monitor government spending? In general, do you think there's a movement in Niger in this direction, in promoting citizen awareness of the their role as supervisors? Another thing: how the project is financed, who pays for it? :)

Nora Lindstrom's picture

I also enjoyed your article Wura! Last year I and the Lilongwe Urban Poor People's Network (LUPPEN) tried to have a look at Lilongwe City Council spending on waste management, and although we did manage to get access to some overall budgets, the whole thing was very difficult and nothing came of it in the end - I wish we'd had BudgIt! I was thinking about your comment regarding the 'elitist' nature of the initiative given that it's only online. I think that's a fair point in countries where many/the majority of the population remains offline (and perhaps even illiterate), but once the information is out there are opportunities to further 'translate' the information for those without internet access/online literacy/literacy through workshops etc. Are there no efforts to this effect using the BudgIt site?

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

Hi Nora,
Yes, sourcing information is always a task with government agencies and I know BudgIt faces its fair share of challenges in access but the FOI bill allows for wiggle room :). As regards the somewhat exclusive nature of the data, I wouldn't go as far as to call it "elitist" but it does exclude a significant chunk of the public. However, I have heard arguments regarding whether or not the general public needs to be informed or more the elite who can actual influence the desired change or action- I leave you to decide.

What I would like to see more though is print versions which do happen periodically but not often enough and traditional offline versions which I don't believe exist in the organisation model of dissemination. Another avenue they use is with their twitter account, which reaches a significant amount amount of people, we all know Africa has gone mobile but the problem of illiteracy would still persists in this mode. It seems it really boils down to what part of the argument mentioned earlier the organisation supports.

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

Hi Andrea,
Thanks for your comments. The freedom of information bill (FOI) passed in Nigeria certainly helps with the process of holding public office accountable for their spending and as you mentioned even if these laws exist they aren't often implemented or well know as the case was with the Brazil Law of access. The FOI is new, and at its passage there was movement to demand information-so some sort of movement and consciousness has developed with citizens demanding transparency especially when there is a financing scandal. However. the key will be for citizens to constantly act as checks in public spending even without a scandal and to an extent Budgit is leading the fore in raising awareness and understanding of this role.

Regarding sponsorship, the organisation is largely funded by donors and grants. In Brazil is there an active movement in promoting awareness of the Law of Access to Information,if so is this a result of government or civil society efforts? Also, what led to its prominence in 2011.

Data visualization and mapping are important tools to fight poverty. At WIEGO we are supporting the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers with the first global database on waste pickers with the WAW - Waste pickers Around the World mapping. No one knows how many organizations of waste pickers are out there. Mapping them it is an important step that can inform policies of supporting NGOs, networks and development agencies. It can foremost help waste pickers across the world better communicate with each other. For more see www.globalrec.com and www.wiego.org .
Sonia Dias
WIEGO waste specialist

Shaima Abulhajj's picture

Hi Widya
Thanks for such interesting piece. It is important really to use the momentum and the youth interest in social media to use for something beneficial and useful as Peta Jakarta. I wish really to know if the finance stands behind this massive great project is also derived from civil society? I hope if the companies there practiced their corporate responsibility in order to fund the project somehow.. I wish to know about this really.
Great work.

Andréa Azambuja's picture

Hi Carlin,
Thank you for your article, I really enjoyed it. I've been thinking a lot about garbage, about the huge production of trash in our daily lives, about recycling... and "I Got Garbage" seems to be a simple tool can be very effective – of course, as long as the the pickers have access to the technology, but that's another history. I see yet another positive aspect in this initiative: if each individual, in their houses, in their offices, start thinking better about where their waste is going, what is going to be made of it and start taking practical simple actions (like using this tool) to help with the collection (not just to deliver the bags to the servants who pick it up from their front doors – that's how it usually works in Brazil for the middle and upper classes)... if they somehow get involved in the process, they may also start thinking about producing less waste, opting for different forms of consuming, going to different kind of markets, reusing some packages... I think "I Got Garbage" can raise ecological awareness in those who do not think much about it, it can help to bring this subject to the routine of people. Although it seems that we made important progress in this direction in recent years (I think that's true), and that today people in general are more aware of the importance of preservation, surely we still have a long way to go. Thanks again, I'll have a careful look at the site :)

Hilaryzainab's picture

Maryam, I enjoyed your article on the efforts to map poverty in Iran and the reflection on some of the challenges faced in the process. In Kenya and elsewhere that I have seen efforts to map impoverished and vulnerable communities there is often a resistance from governing authorities. It is interesting to see that in this case they cite security of the community and I wonder if this is because it will provide a more accurate geography of service provision and gaps in their constituencies, which might reflect on their work directly or as a result of a desire to protect communities. I agree, mapping and visualizing poverty and vulnerability is an important step to targeting services efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of citizens.

Nora Lindstrom's picture

Maryam, thanks for your piece! I was wondering if there are any (and what kind) of efforts to engage the local population in the mapping and rehab schemes? From the way you describe it, it comes across as mainly a top-down initiative, which may account for some of the weaknesses and problems..

Maryam Amiri's picture

Nora,
You pointed a very important issue. In the scheme as a whole, residents’ participation is not absent. In next steps residents get involved in different ways. But in my point of view it can’t be efficient because such participation is temporal and doesn't last after ending the scheme. A perpetual participation can be established in a society with strong laws that support the right to communicate. I insist that in many schemes for the poor, this basic right has been neglected.

Maryam Amiri's picture

Hilaryzainab, thanks for your kind comment. Your point about the similar case in Kenya sounds interesting; the differences disappear when it comes to the poverty! however, in Iran it seems to be related to the high degree of centralization of power and the lack of real and sufficient autonomy in local governments. In addition local authorities often are not enough wise about the problems.

Hilaryzainab's picture

Tam, it was encouraging to read your article on how student groups are work together with civil organizations to provide life saving and data based approaches to mapping the geography of risk in Ho Chi Minh. This is a really dynamic and proactive approach to emergency management that could provide lessons to fire departments and emergency responders in many contexts. Is this data and mapping made available to residents? It would be interesting to see if this work has encouraged building managers/owners to provide access to fire extinguishers or similar community fire posts that can be accessed quickly. How could city planners and fire fighters provide incentives to residents and landlords that might increase prevention and help decrease the frequency of fires.

I enjoyed your article and it definitely got me thinking about the importance of community engagement and how critical visualization can be to helping first responders access affected communities and provide services in an emergency.

Felipe Villela's picture

Very interesting piece, Maryam. It made me think about the real (and perhaps hidden) aspects that the government takes into account when pointing an area as "in need of intervention". I`m curious about it because in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), for instance, government intervention plans usually addresses favelas (slums) that are located close to tourist attractions. In those cases the government makes an effort to improve living conditions and security in order to control the territory. In other words, those "upgrading plans" are mainly motivated by the outsiders fear and not by the hard life of favela dwellers.

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

Very interesting article Carlin. I wonder if there were any projects or any plans to use the transport movement pattern to solve traffic congestion. Movement patterns seem important in this dimension, I know it will be valuable for Lagos and probably the cost of traffic to the economy.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.