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Nairobi, 28 Sept 09

UN-HABITAT has launched a program to train youth on how to �map� their cities. Using participatory planning techniques combined with the latest in spatial technologies, youth from the One Stop Youth Resource Centre sites in Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, and Kampala will over the next three months map youth services and other important sites in their communities.

�Asset mapping is an important participatory tool for youth in decision making at the city level� stated Mutinta Munyati, Human Settlements Programme Officer at the opening of the training workshop. The project is being implemented by the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, working under the UN HABITAT Youth Empowerment Program, with support from the Government Norway.

The youth from each One Stop site will map their communities using GPS as well as video, photography and audio recordings. This information will then be transferred both to Google Earth, for global distribution, and to print, in the form of a Youth Friendly Cities guide for each city. UN HABITAT and the University of Colorado have undertaken an initial pilot test in Dar es Salaam. The outputs can be viewed at http://daressalaam.youthcore.ca/

��Urban planning is no longer only the purview of professionals� states Doug Ragan, coordinator for the project and University of Colorado PhD student, �With easy access to GPS, which can even now be done on mobile phones, and web based programs such as Google Earth, planning can now truly be participatory, engaging even those most marginalized such as youth in the slums. It is the meaningful engagement of those most marginalized through tools such as this which creates safer and more productive cities.�

UN HABITAT is planning a community mapping training at the upcoming World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro. As well, they will be publishing and launching the guides and a train the trainer manual.

 
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