SDI at Habitat III

by James Tayler


SDI is participating in over 60 events over the next week at the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, including participation in at least 9 high-level events and co-hosting of at least 11 side, networking, and other events.

This packed schedule includes a joint networking event hosted by SDI, UCLG-Africa and Cities Alliance. This event, entitled “Know Your City: Creating a Joint Knowledge Base to Transform Cities and their Relationships with Informal Settlements,” will unpack the Know Your City (KYC) campaign – a joint initiative of the three partner organisations – that supports community-driven urban data collection and collaborative planning between local governments and organized communities of the urban poor. These collaborative planning processes produce implementable strategies for inclusive and resilient cities that are owned by a broad base of the city population.

This project demonstrates the critical role and potential value of partnerships for collaborative planning that are rooted in community-collected data at the city and global scale. The event will showcase examples of how already this project has facilitated governments and civil society to develop effective strategies to implement the commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 11 to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” and SDG 17 to “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.”

The event will highlight the ways data collected by the poor, about the poor and for the poor is being used as standard benchmarking data for city governments, urban policy makers, and planners across Africa. It will also reveal the power of profiling and enumeration to organize and energize communities and position them as partners, rather than beneficiaries of development. This event will draw on examples from SDI, the South African Government, Cities Alliance and UCLG-A’s joint work in Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia, to highlight the effective use of community-collected data as the basis of collaborative planning between organized communities of the urban poor and local and national government authorities.

The key takeaway from this event is that community-driven profiling and enumeration of informal settlements has the following benefits:

  • urban poor communities are organized and become active citizens,
  • organized communities gather much needed data on informal settlements that feeds city planning,
  • organized communities feel ownership of this information and use it to plan improvements in their settlements,
  • organized communities become partners with city government for development,
  • organized communities build skills and collective capacities,
  • organized communities gather data at a much lower cost than consultants.

This event will explain how and why some cities and national governments have invested in this process. It will present case studies that explore how partnerships around data collection are leading to innovative upgrading solutions and will challenge other city governments to follow suit.

A breakdown of our other events is included below (click on the image to enlarge). For more information on these events and more, please email us at, and check our Facebook and Twitter feeds throughout the week to keep tabs on what’s going on as it happens.