Cities have got a magnetic pull; everyone nowadays is moving there. The world's urban population is increasing tremendously and stats predict that by 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. So how do we manage this huge growth?
In this sense, the role of efficient urban planning models cannot be denied. In 2011, the World Bank launched a pilot project encouraging a community of software developers start geocoding specific areas in a neighbourhood in Dar Es Salaam. The feature combined open source tools, social networks, and the wisdom of local and global experts and innovators to map every home, road, footpath, drain, school, shop, water and waste collection point so that everyone has the power to do the economic research themselves for the betterment of their very own society.
The World Bank project is just one example of many where mapping and geocoding is being put to use to assist in urban planning activities. Map Kibera in Nairobi operates on a similar basis, mapping slums and marginalised communities in the city.
Our Knowledge article on Sustainable Cities discussed the urban growth taking place in China and India, which constitutes almost half of the urban growth population and places these countries at the centre of economic growth.
The article also mentioned that China and India are facing four major simultaneous challenges: (1) immense population (growth); (2) vast industrialization, (3) scarcity of resources; and (4) a bureaucracy that cannot follow the speed of transformation). The new approach (since 2010) from the the World Bank tries to tackle this proble, by freeing up data and making it easier to search, download and use data, so that researchers, civil society and local communities are in a position to come up with their very own findings.