Ecocitizen World Map Project

Encouraging transparency in urban development and empowering ordinary citizens to claim a stake in their city’s future.

The Ecocitizen World Map Project provides an alternative to the top-down planning practices that can disrupt local communities and lead to misdirected resources and unsustainable development.  The EWMP global initiative uses GIS technology to connect neighborhoods on-the-ground with online crowd-mapping tools designed to explore, understand, and measure holistic urban health from a citizen’s perspective. Through the online map residents can combine and access local, community-uploaded data with open-government data on key indicators to visualize their environment, organize, plan, and advocate for their communities.

How does the EWMP work?

The Ecocitizen World Map Project is implemented in a local via public-private partnerships facilitated by Ecocity Builders. A pilot project goes through several stages:

  • Training “Boot camps” led by Ecocity EFE_08Builders EWMP team teach a core group of community members the basics of the GIS data collection methods and technology, as well briefing on sustainable urban health principles. Roundtable discussion decides on which measurements to focus on pursuant to community interests (e.g. water quality, air quality, access to services, green space…)
  • Community data collection campaigns run by the core team and Ecocity Builders explore the designated areas
  • Data uploading to the EcoCitizen World Map
  • Result analysis, community discussion, and further action planning

The Ecocitizen World Map Project process can be used to: chart the progress of social and environmental sustainability; identify barriers to improving quality of life; evaluate neighborhood resources; compare indicators cross-neighborhood; provide hard data to back up claims for approaching city administrators.

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Who is participating in the project?

This public-private partnership is led by Ecocity Builders in collaboration with the Organization of American States, Esri, the Association of American Geographers, Eye on Earth (a partnership of UNEP + Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative), along with local academic partners, NGOs and community organizations. The project’s initial three pilot cities include Medellín, Colombia (supported by a grant from the OAS’ Sustainable Communities in the Americas Initiative), Cairo, Egypt, and Casablanca, Morocco (supported by a grant from Eye on Earth).

What does the EWMP measure?


Scientific and sociological underpinnings of the Project are based on the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative (IEFS), aka Ecocity Framework, currently under development by NGO Ecocity Builders and its international expert advisory, and in consultation with the UNISDR’s “Making Cities Resilient Campaign” and UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Campaign and Resilient Cities Profiling Program. The IEFS covers a wide range of indicators that reflect socially and environmentally healthy human settlements, from water and air quality to access to education and employment opportunities. The IEFS are designed to be applicable to settlements of all sizes, shapes, and locations, to guide and measure the development of more ecological and just cities.


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