Case Studies

Supporting Communities to Plan and Integrate Informal Neighbourhoods


SDI is a network of community-based organisations in 32 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their OpenReblock platform helps plan and integrate informal neighbourhoods, making the planning process faster, simpler, and more scalable and placing it in the hands of local communities. SDI integrated mobility data from WhereIsMyTransport in OpenReblock.

“Mobility data from WhereIsMyTransport contributes to our argument for in-situ upgrading as an alternative to evictions and relocation, and provides a key dimension to the planning process that we could not have sourced from anywhere else, especially so quickly and easily.” Anni Beukes, Data Programme Officer, SDI

OpenReblock is part of an ecosystem of tools co-designed by slum-dwellers, technologists and scientists to re-plan and integrate informal neighbourhoods into their city networks with minimal disturbance and cost. Slum communities create a map that includes each structure, available service and open spaces. The platform produces an automatic proposal for new streets and paths. This street layout proposal is then edited and adapted to local needs.

These layouts become plans for neighbourhood development around a street plan that provides access to emergency services, regularises addresses, and allows for drainage and the provision of services.

Demonstrating the integration and connectivity of each community is essential to the re-blocking process. Roads do not only move vehicles and people, they carry the infrastructure like drainage and fiber optic cable that connect neighbourhoods to each other, to the city and the world.

“Transport links remain the core of connectivity for not only access to in-situ services, but also access to services and opportunities of the city at large. The ability to plot and visualise the public transport links that connect slums to the city in OpenReblock adds a crucial layer of data.” Anni Beukes, Data Programme Officer, SDI

Transport links are critical for accessing services, jobs, and keeping communities connected with the fabric of their city. Mobility data from WhereIsMyTransport illustrated connections within and between the community and the city, enabling users of SDI’s OpenReblock platform to create innovative, human-centred solutions in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

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