Urban Fold

Mapping Slums to Shape Them

A mapping effort led by a group of cartographers called the Spatial Collective is helping to make visible what it's like to live in the Nairobi slum of Mathare. By giving form to the informal settlement, its problems are being made evident.

"We think of GPS maps as guides. They are the sometimes annoying, always calm, recorded voice in our car that steers us through unfamiliar places," reports Gregory Warner. "But maps are also public records that can help slum dwellers negotiate with city authorities."

"The slum-mapping movement [that has been brought to Mathare] started in India about a decade ago and more recently migrated to Africa," he explains. "The idea is to make slums a reality for people who would never set foot in one."

"A map can be entered as evidence in court to stop evictions. It can be reprinted by international advocacy groups to raise awareness. It can be presented to city planners, as a puzzle to be solved."

Full Story: In Kenya, Using Tech To Put An 'Invisible' Slum On The Map

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