Tag Archives: Africa

(456) Matatu network map for Nairobi

Matatu An academic team with GPS and cell phone technology in hand went out across Nairobi’s informal network of privately owned buses recently.  Their object was to map the routes and see how the network operates, how it might be improved and subjected to a reasonable level of regulation and licensing.  A classic response to local needs and resources, fast-growing Nairobi’s Matatu-based public transit evolved into a sometimes chaotic thing, spurred as well by the collapse of a conventional bus system decades previously.

Students and researchers involved with the mapping effort came from the Computing For Development Lab at University of Nairobi, the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University, and MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab.  They found the scale and extent of the network is really quite something: a matrix of 120 routes converging on downtown.  Could this open source example of transit provision, enhanced by digital technology, be pointing the way for other sprawling, fast-growing cities?

This is what informal transit looks like when you actually map it
Atlantic Cities


image: matatu via Wikimedia Commons

(206) Nova Cidade de Kilamba

From its offices in Mississauga, suburban-poverty.com seeks both topic and audience as globally as possible.  Canada, the United States, Scandinavia, Germany, Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and China have made the (dis)honour roll over the past year-and-a-half.  Thanks to the BBC we can reach out to a reality in Angola.  Once a part of Portugal’s squalid empire the country of twenty million is an oil producer that remains very poor.  Courted of late by China, we see a familiar pattern of weirdness and stupidity in the making of place called Nova Cidade de Kilamba, some thirty kilometres outside Luanda, Angola’s capital.  How bizarre and unexpected, but given the reach of a globalized economy, perhaps not totally so.

Angola’s Chinese-built ghost town article plus video

image: SKopp via Wikimedia Commons