Port Harcourt is Nigeria’s fifth largest urban area and extends 360 square kilometers. Characterized by unplanned urban development and sprawl, the city’s population is 2,227,133 (U.S. Department of State, 2015). The Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority implemented an expansion plan of the city, which encompasses six more local government areas. Annual flooding is attributed to the poor drainage networks throughout the city. The Bonny River runs through the city creating a network of streams throughout the city that joins the coastal area. Storm drains and closed canals are in development, but with only four months of dry season, Port Harcourt consistently experiences water level rises in the peak of the rainy season.
The civil society sector has undertaken several programs to “map the unmapped” as a way to incorporate them into the city government’s vision. The project lead, Port Harcourt-based Stakeholder Democracy Network has worked with city residents on community mapping projects in the past. In April 2016, an initiative of local civil society Chicoco Radio and developing cities architecture practice NLÉ, ran a pilot program using basic technologies to create a geotagged dataset of household demographics. 2C Port Harcourt project builds on these activities.
The Port Harcourt initiative’s focus is threefold:
- Make ongoing participatory mapping programs in Port Harcourt sustainable
- Build the city government’s capacity to incorporate these programs into future urban planning efforts
- Sustainable, city-wide participatory mapping program that produces high-quality, accurate, geo-tagged datasets of informal areas for government consumption.
The Stakeholder Democracy Network partnered with local government and River State University. 2C Port Harcourt collected data across the city on basic services for emergency preparedness. This baseline data of the city is needed to develop the basis for geospatial infrastructure. Data on roads, schools, emergency services, and open spaces were collected.