Many of the urban poor live in unplanned settlements and work in the informal sector. Very often, no record of their homes or workplaces is found on government or official datasets. This lack of information is one important reason why many low-income city residents do not have access to basic services: governments do not have the information they need to plan for the poor and residents do not have the information they need to hold government accountable for providing services.
With the government’s increasing emphasis on data-driven planning, there is an opportunity now to create greater awareness about the impacts of data gaps about the urban poor, and to build capacity in civil society organisations, communities, and government actors to proactively plan for the informal sector, especially taking advantage of widely available and cheap mapping and data collection technologies, as well as participatory methodologies. In response to this context, the Transparent Cities Network aims to create maps, data, and research about neglected civic issues in partnership with residents and governments. In this proposed project, we will work with Mahila Housing Trust in Ranchi, Jharkhand. It is premised on our experience that better information about the poor and those in the informal sector will lead to more informed and targeted interventions by the government, more effective advocacy by the poor, and improved governance outcomes for low-income city residents.