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Equipping the next generation of town planners with the skills to integrate risk information

An open source online content that synthesizes the lessons of community mapping for resilience methods

Photo of Edward Anderson
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

The mobile phone and open source software are free or low cost tools empowering people with new means to measure our surroundings. Initiatives such as Map Kibera and GrassRoots mapping have shown that community members, with few volunteers, can leverage the latest low cost consumer tech - be it a smart phone, cheap camera, drone, or walking papers - to create rich thematic maps and generate critical data on hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Online platforms like OpenStreetMap are enabling mass collaboration. Humanitarian Open Street Map Team and crisis mappers have harnessed these platforms to mobilise volunteers during times of crisis for digital goods supporting local response (such as mapping Port-au-Prince during the 2010 Haiti earthquake or geocoding local social media information into aggregated geographical displays like Ushahidi). In Dar es Salaam the government is working with Dar es Salaam and Ardhi Universities, and the Red Cross, to harness these methods; 165 students work in vulnerable neighbourhoods with over 200 community members RC volunteers to develop detailed maps, capture flood critical infrastructure and risk reduction issues. Scaling these methods to additional cities in Tanzania and beyond requires local capacity and map champions: a high quality, open curriculum on emerging community driven methods as skills of graduating cadres of town planners. By sharing content openly, cities like Morogoro, Arusha and Mwanza can replicate and improve up

WHO BENEFITS?

Ultimately this is a public good for future town planners seeking to face the challenge of Africa's rapid and sometimes unplanned urbanization, which is creating slums and aggregating disaster risk. By learning how to use new tools to create vital data, but also to engage and appreciate community knowledge, future municipal planners and citizens alike will be better informed of risk and ready to collaborate in reduction measures. Implemented across Tanzania Universities

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

Urbanization in Tanzania is largely informal and unplanned, with the majority of its residents living in informal settlements. Over 70% of Dar es Salaam’s 5 million residents live in unplanned settlements, at least 60% of settlements in Zanzibar Town are unplanned, and in Mwanza, situated on Lake Victoria, about 75% of people reside in informal settlements, with about 25% in high risk areas such as in valleys and on steep hill-sides. Informal areas typically have inadequate basic services, lacking water supply, waste disposal, electricity provision, public amenities and road networks. Tanzanian cities have landscapes that are often ecologically vulnerable as well, these natural features can easily become hazardous lands during rains and storm events due to the form of the built environment, disproportionately impacting the poorest residents who choose to settle in cheap but marginal and hazard prone areas. A lack of urban services such as waste water management and solid waste collection exacerbate the issues of drains maintenance and pollute the already hazardous flood waters. The culmination of these factors has led to an increased risk of flooding from reduced drainage, land slides and associated water and mosquito born disease. The impacts manifest as loss of life as seen in Dar es Salaam in December 2011 – January 2012 when severe flooding displaced at least 10,000 people, and caused 40 deaths, with the most serious impacts on settlements in natural drainage basins.

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Yes, for two or more years

EXPERTISE

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • Yes

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I support the Ramani Huria (http://ramanihuria.org) project, a collaboration between the World Bank, Red Cross, Tanzanian Commission of Science and Technology, University of Dar es Salaam, Ardhi University and the City Council of Dar es Salaam.

IS THIS A NEW OR RECENT IDEA FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION? HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM WHAT YOU ARE ALREADY DOING?

Community and Grass Roots Mapping has become quite common in unplanned and vulnerable urban neighbourhoods around the world. Ramani Huria has leveraged the participatory methodology used in mapping these neighbourhoods, creating and adapting free and open source learning materials, to map at a scale that has never been attempted before. Currently the training material produced by Ramani Huria has been used to train over 250 students and community members in participatory mapping which has subsequently been used to map over 1.3 million people in Dar es Salaam, the largest scale attempted so far. Our idea is novel due to the scale at which mapping is being conducted and the demand from other urban slums, cities and countries for maps and map data.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIMILAR INITIATIVES? WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY? WHAT UNIQUE ADVANTAGES DO YOU HAVE?

Other initiatives focus on supporting and scaling existing projects in place, often developing a new set of methods of training and supporting communities with mapping. Our approach would build a curriculum that could be utilised by academic faculties and other organisations to support and train the next generation of urban planners, geographers and humanitarians to support community and grass root mapping projects worldwide. This would be offered as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) built on the experiences and knowledge of scaling Ramani Huria in and around the urban slums Dar es Salaam but also from others worldwide. This offers us a unique advantage due to the depth and breadth of partners and collaborators in Ramani Huria from all sectors: academia, private sector, NGOs and government. Drawing on this pool of talent, domain specific expertise would be used to create modules to support the generation and use of data from community mapping in differing urban slum challenges and perspectives.

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

The scale of Ramani Huria has necessitated a different approach in mapping. Previous approaches would be very small with teams being trained in small groups. Our approach pioneered training in and for government agencies and universities, alongside training for community members of urban slums. This has been a novel collaboration opportunity for these groups, especially between municipal representatives and slum communities, where the mapping has offered opportunities for dialog on issues and challenges in these urban areas. Due to this unique set of collaborators it has been possible to distill experiences and approaches of community mapping at scale not attempted before.

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that is open source and freely available resource for all, providing a thorough curriculum of community and grass root mapping for anyone, anywhere. This would support the next global generation of urban planning, geography and disaster risk management students, local community champions and municipal authorities in generating, maintaining and using map data of urban slum communities worldwide.

4 comments

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Spam
Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

What gives you confidence that the intended users will use this data and your tools? How will it fit into their existing workflows?

Why focus on the next generation rather than the current one?

Without conventional street naming in these unplanned communities, not sure if this is the best solution. Have you seen "whatthreewords"? It's an app which leverages mobile technology but also has added benefit of ascribing a unique 3 word code which also serves as each individual's personal "home address" of sorts. Thereby giving addresses to individuals who are often excluded from mainstream activities in the formal sector because they lack an address.

How will this idea be influenced by the people in the communities that urban planners are designing for? 

Spam
Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on making it to the Feedback Phase Edward! We would love it if you can take some time to answer the new Refinement questions that we've added to your original idea submission form. To answer the new questions, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to the entry fields of the new Refinement questions. Hit Save when you are done editing.

Also, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 11/16" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Spam
Photo of Catherine Allinson Future Earth Ltd
Team

Yes, all the data needs to be collected for improved planning and it is most useful when integrated with other data and information in e.g. a systems model which the community can also access and not just the educated municipal authorities. It would be great to see the data and information you collect being collated in the Communities Cockpit for funders, governments AND local communities in the slums. Happy to talk about how we can achieve this.

Spam
Photo of Jonston Weston
Team

Thank you Edward, I worked with Ground truth initiative, under the world bank in 2011. I am currently a masters student pursuing MSc in Disaster and Risk Management at Ardhi University where by i identify disaster issues and analyse the mitigation measures that will reduce the impacts of disasters in the cities.
One of the issues being rupid urbanization in the big cities which actually lack adequate infrastructures and planned settlement.
I acquired the knowledge in 2011, when i worked as student from Ardhi University and i want to champion the community mapping for flood resilience in Dar. I thank you for joining me in your team.