#HarlemFirst Community Mapping Workshop

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In late January, I was invited by Leetha Filderman of PopTech and Cheryl Heller of the School of Visual Arts, MFA Design for Social Innovation (DSI) program, to run a masterclass on community mapping for Harlem First initiative. The initiative is a collaboration between DSI, PopTech, Arnhold Institute for Global Health, and Strive, and its […]

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PopTech Talk


I was recently honored by being selected as a 2015 PopTech Social-Innovation Fellow. I had the pleasure to participate in a week long training program with eight other amazing fellows, organized on the beautiful island of North Haven, in Maine. The training program was led by a variety of astonishing faculty and it consisted of […]

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Documenting potential impact of development projects on communities in Lamu County


The “World is coming,” said the deputy secretary of Kililana Farmers Association during our LAPSSET conflict risk mapping exercise in old Lamu Town on Kenya’s coast. The secretary was referring to the massive infrastructural development project which will traverse most of northern Kenya. It is called the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor. […]

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Geography of Service Delivery

Household that pay and don't pay for trash removal

Nairobi’s population has increased more than tenfold in the last 50 years.[1] This rapid urbanization brought with it a two-tier development process where some areas are rapidly modernizing while others lag behind. The provision of basic services often follows the split. Different geographic areas of Nairobi enjoy different levels of development and access to public […]

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Rethinking waste management in Nairobi’s informal settlements


Community-based organizations are in the forefront of dealing with waste management in Nairobi’s informal settlements, however, their interventions often fall short of becoming sustainable and profitable on the long run. Research shows that there is ample opportunity in alternative material recovery, recycling, and sorting of trash in the informal settlements, as well as, in establishing […]

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Mathare Demographic


This post was cross-posted from Spatial Collective’s blog. Informal settlements are often missing from geographic and statistical representation of their countries, and Nairobi’s informal settlements are no exception. With so few household surveys, high-quality data with specific focus on informal settlements are very hard to come by.  For this reason, little information is available on […]

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Waste Management Stakeholder Survey

Stakeholder forum

This post was cross-posted from Spatial Collective’s blog. In March and April 2014, following the household survey, Spatial Collective continued their research into informal waste management activities and other community-led hazard mitigation practices in Mathare. The focus of the research was on various groups and individuals dealing with environmental and waste management in the four wards […]

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Household Survey

Locations of the Interviews

This post was cross-posted from Spatial Collective‘s blog. In November 2013 Spatial Collective conducted a household survey of 1000 randomly-selected households in Mathare. The focus of the research was to explore the existing and available information systems in Mathare, mainly to gather information on availability, accessibility, and use of mobile telephony and the Internet, as […]

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Mtaa Safi (Clean Neighborhood)


Spatial Collective in its aim to understand various ways groups organize themselves for the purpose of providing public goods in informal settlements initiated Mtaa Safi (Clean Neighborhood) campaign. It’s widely known that in informal settlements, lack of basic services and missing state institutions sometimes create a governance vacuum that is often filled by the informal […]

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