For Urban Poor, Enumeration Equals Inclusion

Marcus Tudehope offers 12 reasons why community-led counting and mapping of the urban poor can be an effective tool for putting "power and democracy" into their hands.

1 minute read

March 7, 2013, 2:00 PM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"Enumeration: to be counted; it is the fundamental basis of inclusion in the city," argues Tudehope. "To exclude a community from census and mapping activities is to effectively render it invisible to urban decision-making processes. But as the world urbanises, an ever-increasing proportion of humanity is coming to reside in urban poor settlements, outside the scope of most traditional methods of enumeration such as government censuses which underpin land management and urban planning."

"In settings where the capacity or will to include the urban poor in official mapping and enumeration activities is lacking, participatory, community-led processes frequently come to occupy the void," he explains. "Following the seminal work of SPARC India's We the invisible, its 1985 census of pavement dwellers in Mumbai, the concept has gained international recognition and is now widely practiced throughout the developing world. However, community maps and data are not ends in themselves, but they can form vital steps in the larger process of creating more inclusive cities."

Tudehope goes on to explore 12 reasons - from increasing tenure security to countering misinformation campaigns - why community-based census and mapping activities can "assist the urban poor in staking their claim to a place in the city."

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in The Global Urbanist

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