Geoinformation Technologies in Land Use Monitoring of Fast-Growing Cities for Sustainable Urban Development: Maputo as a Laboratory for Research and Action

Geoinformation Technologies in Land Use Monitoring of Fast-Growing Cities for Sustainable Urban Development: Maputo as a Laboratory for Research and Action

Cristina Delgado Henriques (CIAUD, Faculdade de Arquitetura, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2249-3.ch002
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Abstract

To understand the territory of fast-growing cities, where there are multiple stakeholders involved, the observation of such dynamics seems indispensable to formulate and implement policies and actions based on a better understanding of these territorial systems. This chapter offers a perspective on how urban territories should be observed through geoinformation technologies that can provide a means for creating monitoring indicators concerning land use of fast-growing cities. The city of Maputo was used as an experimental laboratory for the use of geoinformation technologies in the observation, discussion, and reflection on methods for sustainable urbanism. The discussion includes the implications of the case study and possible developments to take a step forward in land use planning processes to achieve the desired socio-spatial equality.
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Introduction

Despite countless good intentions and urban development agendas, there are still many persistent issues playing an important role in the urban expansion process in developing countries, which can lead to spatial inequities and social deprivation.

At the same time, emerging issues such as climate change and migration are extending this issue and hampering the process of reconciling urbanization and sustainable development.

The United Nations World Cities Report 2016 (United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2016) refers to specific policies and actions that can drive transformation change to leverage a New Urban Agenda. Of particular note among these is a global monitoring framework to increase the availability and usefulness of data to support decision-making, accountability mechanisms, and the capacity of countries/cities to deliver and report on the New Urban Agenda and SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

Moreover, the New Urban Agenda supports

“the role and enhanced capacity of national, subnational and local governments in data collection, mapping, analysis and dissemination and in promoting evidence-based governance, building on a shared knowledge base using both globally comparable as well as locally generated data, including through censuses, household surveys, population registers, community-based monitoring processes and other relevant sources.”

In addition, it fosters

“the creation, promotion and enhancement of open, user-friendly and participatory data platforms using technological and social tools available to transfer and share knowledge among national, subnational and local governments and relevant stakeholders, including non-State actors and people, to enhance effective urban planning and management, efficiency and transparency through e-governance, approaches assisted by information and communications technologies, and geospatial information management.” (United Nations, 2017: 40).

Concerning urban territorial planning and policymaking in general, and in fast-growing cities in particular, spatial information management through geoinformation technologies is of vital importance in the monitoring and evaluation of the planning process. The determination of ratios and indicators through spatial data makes it possible, among other operations, to quantify needs and to understand the transformation or evolution of certain phenomena, thereby contributing to the construction of an informed planning system and building evidence-based governance.

To understand the urban territory, where the stakeholders of its transformations are multiple, the observation of its dynamics seems indispensable to formulate and implement policies and actions based on a better understanding of these territorial systems. In short, observing to understand and understanding to act is an elementary element for promoting the sustainable development of cities.

Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city, located in a coastal area of Southeast Africa, struggles from climate change effects, observable particularly during floods, land pressure, both from real estate investments and low-income families looking to settle where they can find a means of survival, and from the lack of effective integrated planning, based on a monitoring framework enabling public authorities to obtain periodic assessments of the various dimensions of urbanization and their impacts.

In this context, this chapter provides a perspective on how urban territories should be observed through geoinformation technologies that can provide the means for creating monitoring indicators concerning the land use of fast-growing cities. The city of Maputo has been used here as an experimental laboratory for the use of geoinformation technologies in the observation, discussion, and reflection on methods for sustainable urbanism.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Spatial Justice: When social resources are adequately distributed in space promoting equitable opportunities to benefit from them.

Self-Produced Settlements: Non- or semi-urbanized areas produced more or less autonomously in relation to state order and control by the resident population.

Urban Structure Plan: Land use normative planning instrument, also known as master plan.

Urban Indicators: Tools that can provide a comprehensive means for the monitoring and assessment of urban conditions, trends, and policies.

Land Use: The functional use of land units based on human activity.

Urban Observatory: Infrastructure element to record, analyze and interpret the cumulative results of human action, translated into the physical transformation of cities and enabling the monitoring and assessing of changes and policies, through a set of dedicated indicators.

Geoinformation Technologies: Technological tools used for measuring, mapping, modeling, and visualizing features from human and natural environments.

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