Home > Digital technology in four urban domains > Plan for the most vulnerable > Define a roadmap to ensure public responsibility for urban planning (...)

Plan for the most vulnerable

Step 5

Define a roadmap to ensure public responsibility for urban planning data


The local authority must enhance its capacity to produce reliable and systematic urban data for spatial planning.

Even if the data comes from civil society, deciding which zones to be mapped, choosing the items to be represented, adding this data to the official databases is the local authority’s responsibility.

This work on the territory requires coordination and collaboration with data producers, as well as a capacity for integration and processing to build centralised platforms. To ensure total coverage of the territory, data protection and security, and the use of the data in an emergency, the local authority must position itself as guarantor of the public interest. The gradual enriching, maintenance and continuous updating of the data also requires the municipality to take charge of or delegate it to a trusted third party with close monitoring.

The gradual constitution of a municipal team dedicated to data management seems necessary for the maps and risk management plans to take account of the most recent changes in the territory. In the longer term, the introduction of services of this type within the municipalities can be a first stage for building a solid information and knowledge database of the territory, prior to the integration of other information.

Suggestion box

Some digital tools at the service of urban and spatial planning

Data source

Data exploitation

Sharing and restitution

The methods of governance, coordination and steering of digital technology and innovation depend on the local political-administrative context (Part A, Step 5), rather than being specific to this particular action sector. The key questions and the possibilities of intervention methods therefore remain the same.

Practical exercise

Define a medium to long-term roadmap for digitalizing urban planning tools

Choose accessible digital actions the municipality can implement in its roadmap

  • A shared platform for existing urban data, which may be scattered and not all digitalized?
  • Format Harmonisation and geolocalisation of data?
  • Data collection on the informal areas of the city, not included in the plans or land registry maps?

Define the positioning of the local authority for digital-based planning

  • What are the local authority’s and concerned service providers’ resources (technical, human, financial) which can be engaged to manage the digital system?
  • How and by whom can this digital system be proposed, designed, implemented?
  • How can the data generated be used and shared beyond the sector of the urban service?

Risk management and early warning system
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Digital tools to improve disaster management.

The town of Rio de Janeiro is particularly vulnerable to disasters due to heavy rainfall that leads to landslides and flooding because of massive urban sprawl. From 2010, the municipal council and civil defence (responsible for coordinating all the emergency service efforts) rallied to prevent the impact of flooding and landslides.

The town chose to develop an Early Warning System – EWS, first of all by classifying the risks on the residential, developed zones. A team mapped the areas exposed to landslides on a Google Earth map with monthly updates.

The municipality then installed additional rain gauges in the town and a weather radar to develop climate models that were monitored continuously. The data is centralised in the centre of operations in Rio developed with the company IBM. The town has installed sirens in the at risk zones and an SMS service was set up to send alerts to the members of the communities with basic training in civil defence or who expressed an interest.

To promote the awareness of the population particularly exposed to risks, detailed mapping was carried out, identifying the people with specific needs living in the at risk zones (favelas and cheap residential areas). Health officers were distributed to these areas to promote awareness in the inhabitants. These works were also an opportunity to carry out a census of the population to account for the people in safety during a disaster.

Lessons learnt

  • Continuously updated data collection accelerates knowledge of the territories and vulnerable population groups.
  • Simple communication mechanisms (SMS) and digital mediation (agents) provide quicker response times and facilitate exchanges between authority and inhabitant.

Share: Linkdin Google + Twitter Facebook