Experts begin slum data gathering in Lagos, Kano
A team of experts has begun three-year project known as Integrated Deprived Area Mapping (IDEAMAPS) Network in Lagos and Kano. IDEAMAPS network is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to co-design and develop a data sharing ecosystem with diverse partners in Lagos and Kano (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya).
Professor in Urban Analytics and Deputy Director of Urban Big Data Centre, University of Glasgow, Joao Porto de Albuquerque, said the idea of the project is to work with stakeholders in Lagos, local councils, slum dwellers and researchers to gather data for slum mapping and also to use these data for economic improvement and upgrade.
Albuquerque, who also doubles as the principal investigator of the project, said the researchers involved in the project would be working towards creating a new approach that is much more collaborative and code signed of working together with stakeholders getting data about slums.
This, Albuquerque said as at today does not exist or not integrated and integrating this into a technical platform and running artificial intelligence and data analytics to better understand where slums are and what are their needs in terms of deprivation of infrastructure, water and sanitation, housing and different types of infrastructure and how best to improve them.
He said the project would provide a technical platform, which would enable people to exchange data in a way that preserves their privacy and at the same time enable them to do much more precise policy and action to improve slums.
According to him, the project will be a collaborative process to getting in to residents in slum areas with policymakers in government and also in academic research and the private sector.
Speaking on the choice of destinations for the project, he said Lagos is a powerful metropolis, and Nigeria is one of the highest urbanisation growths, it is growing a lot and the problem of informal sector and slum is a particular challenge.
“I think also it has a potential in which we have a case where we can learn from and the idea of having both Lagos and Kano is because we have more like a larger city in a secondary city and we can learn from different experiences.
“With this in Nairobi, Kenya more East Africa perspective and learning from these three, we expect to engage a lot of larger number of cities worldwide. For example, we are looking in context for India with other Asian cities to expand our network there and to other cities, which faces other similar challenges around the world,” he said.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos on Enterprise Geographic Information System (eGIS) and Physical Planning, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, said government also realise that there are silos of automated information, which are not having handshake or speaking to each other.
“So one of the things we want to do as a government is to provide a special data infrastructure where all layers can be plugged into. Babatunde who was represented by Principal Land Officer, Lands Bureau, Directorate of Land Services, Dr. Olarenwaju Bakinson, said layers from academia, layers from communities themselves, layers from government. At a time any individual or organisation needs information, it can be extracted from that.
Speaking on plans of government on slums, he said there have been deliberate policies of improvement at the slum areas.
According to him, there are dedicated agencies created for the slum, which Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority as far back as in the early 1990s and there have been studies done by international organisations.
“There are lots of investment and budgetary provisions for slum improvement. Slum improvement is an activity that is scattered all around, for every hospital that is improved, every road that is paved; these are urban renewal initiatives in small forms,” he said.
Co-Investigator, Ideamaps Participatory Data-modelling Project and the Coordinator of the Ideamaps Network in West Africa, Dr. Peter Elias, said:
“Since 2020, our Network has been developing an Integrated Deprived Area Mapping System (IDEAMAPS) that combines citizen-generated, Earth Observation, census, survey, and other data to produce dynamic, accurate map of deprived urban areas so that all cities can become equitable, healthy, and prosperous.
“We are kicking off a new three-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to co-design and develop a data sharing “ecosystem” with diverse partners in Lagos and Kano (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya).
Working with collaborators from the pilot cities in Nigeria (Lagos and Kano) and Kenya (Nairobi), the IDEAMAPS project will generate new data and enhance the capabilities of various stakeholders to understand and address urban poverty, health, and well-being.”
He said the result is that community members and decision-makers will have an improved, co-produced evidence base, as well as strengthened communication networks based on common understandings and trust. These outcomes will support pro-equity interventions to effectively address current issues on urban planning, slum upgrading, and urban health.
The project features a multidisciplinary and international consortium with partners at the African Population and Health Research Centre (Kenya), University of Lagos (Nigeria), University of Twente/ITC Faculty (Netherlands), George Washington University (United States), University of York (UK) and University of Glasgow (UK). The Nigerian team is led by Dr. Peter Elias of the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Nigeria.