Worldwide Detection of Informal Settlements via Topological Analysis of Crowdsourced Digital Maps

22 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2020

See all articles by Satej Soman

Satej Soman

University of Chicago

Anni Beukes

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

Cooper Nederhood

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

Nicholas Marchio

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

Luis Bettencourt

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

Date Written: September 27, 2020

Abstract

The recent growth of high-resolution spatial data, especially in developing urban en- vironments, is enabling new approaches to civic activism, urban planning and the provi- sion of services necessary for sustainable development. A special area of great potential and urgent need deals with urban expansion through informal settlements (slums). These neighborhoods are too often characterized by a lack of connections, both physical and so- cioeconomic, with detrimental effects to residents and their cities. Here, we show how a scalable computational approach based on the topological properties of digital maps can identify local infrastructural deficits and propose context-appropriate minimal solutions. We analyze 1 terabyte of OpenStreetMap (OSM) crowdsourced data to create worldwide indices of street block accessibility and local cadastral maps and propose infrastructure extensions with a focus on 120 Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) in the Global South. We illustrate how the lack of physical accessibility can be identified in detail, how the complexity and costs of solutions can be assessed and how detailed spatial proposals are generated. We discuss how these diagnostics and solutions provide a multiscalar set of new capabilities – from individual neighborhoods to global regions – that can coordi- nate local community knowledge with political agency, technical capability, and further research.

Keywords: OpenStreetMap, Cities, Slums, Network Analysis, Remote Sensing, Human Development, Urban Planning, GIS, Cloud Computing

Suggested Citation

Soman, Satej and Beukes, Anni and Nederhood, Cooper and Marchio, Nicholas and Bettencourt, Luis, Worldwide Detection of Informal Settlements via Topological Analysis of Crowdsourced Digital Maps (September 27, 2020). Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation Research Paper No. 23, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3701930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3701930

Satej Soman (Contact Author)

University of Chicago

Anni Beukes

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation ( email )

5735 S Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Cooper Nederhood

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation ( email )

5735 S Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Nicholas Marchio

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation ( email )

5735 S Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Luis Bettencourt

University of Chicago - Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation ( email )

5735 S Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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