Integrated Deprived Area Mapping System (IDEAMAPS)

Project Period

May 2020 - April 2021

Project Partners

  • Department of Social Statistics, University of Southampton
  • Department of Geography, University of Lagos
  • The Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, University of Chicago
  • Institute for Global Sustainable Development, University of Warwick

The UN estimates that 2.5 billion people will be added to the planet over the next 30 years. A large portion of these populations will reside in deprived neighbourhoods including slums, informal settlements, and areas of inadequate housing and face a range of challenges from insecure tenure, to unplanned housing, pollution, environmental risk, and social exclusion. Spatial data on such neighbourhoods are commonly not available. On the occasions that they do exist, they quickly become out-dated. Without up-to-date information on the geography (location and extent) of deprived neighbourhoods and the specific social and physical environmental conditions faced by their inhabitants, the impact of these on health and social outcomes are not traceable and the development of effective interventions is not achievable. However, there is currently no systematic, scalable approach to map deprived neighbourhoods across cities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

We cannot presently identify the locations and basic characteristics of deprived areas with any regularity (e.g., annually) because deprived areas are heterogeneous, no common definition of such areas exists, and current approaches to map them – community mapping, aggregating household data, digitizing satellite imagery, or machine-learning/AI modelling – are insufficient on their own and largely silo-ed. The project will design an Integrated Deprived Area Mapping System (IDEAMAPS) that will push the boundaries and overcome the weaknesses of each of these current approaches to mapping slums, informal settlements, and areas of inadequate housing.

We want to develop an Integrated Deprived Area Mapping System (IDEAMAPS) that combines citizen-generated, Earth Observation, census, survey, and other data to produce a common, dynamic, accurate map of deprived urban areas so that all cities can become equitable, healthy, and prosperous. We are currently piloting the IDEAMAPS approach in Nairobi (Kenya), Accra (Ghana), and Lagos(Nigeria) with plans to apply for funding to scale-up to hundreds of cities across Africa and the Global South.

Supported by the UK Research and Innovation – Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI-GCRF).

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