Digital project puts Nairobi slum on the map
Kibera, a densely populated Nairobi slum, now looms large on the city map — and the radar of municipal officials. David Thorpe, special consultant to the Sustainable Cities Collective, reports that the neighborhood was “largely forgotten” when enterprising young residents in 2009 created a free digital map of the community.
“It has served to amplify the community’s voices, raising awareness of the tough life in Kibera,” Thorpe writes of the project. “Through Map Kibera the suburb’s residents have gained in security, representation and influence.”
In addition to being online, the map is painted on walls in the slum and distributed in printed form. It helped the city identify where more police officers and public toilets were needed. The article notes that the map’s creators continue to improve on it. News items, photos and videos are added to the digital version, with the news blurbs also transmitted via text messages to cellphones.