May 28, 2022

Interactive Resource: In Fight Against Global Poverty, University of Chicago Researchers Map Fast-Growing Informal Settlements in Africa

From the U. of Chicago:

Urban scientists at the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation on Oct. 23 launched the Million Neighborhoods Map—a groundbreaking visual tool that provides the first comprehensive look at informal settlements across Africa, helping to identify communities most in need of roads, power, water, sanitation and other infrastructure. Updates for Central and South America, India, and parts of Europe and Asia will come online over the next several weeks.

The Million Neighborhoods Map is the first such map of its kind and digitally renders building infrastructure and street networks—or the lack thereof. The goal is to provide municipal leaders and community residents with a tool to help inform and prioritize infrastructure projects in underserviced neighborhoods, including informal urban settlements that are sometimes known as “slums.”


To create the Million Neighborhoods Map, researches applied algorithms to an open-source GIS database called OpenStreetMap, which is unique because it is available free to anyone and allows volunteers and local residents to contribute data about the location of throughways, buildings and structures—even in informal settlements, which often lack consistent, publicly available data.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to Million Neighborhoods Map

Media Coverage: African Slum Map Exposes True Scale of Urban Poverty (via Reuters)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.