EURISY Members' Corner: Focus on the Belgian Science Policy Office

Published on June 18, 2022, by Sabine Vanhuysse

SLUMAP results were presented at the EURISY Members' Corner , in the frame of a webinar dedicated to Remote sensing of African Urban Area for Health and Vulnerability Assessment (17 June 2022).

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a rapid and uncontrolled urbanization process, with significant impacts on the health and well-being of urban dwellers. To mitigate such impacts, and advance towards SDG 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, more spatially-detailed and quantitative data are necessary to identify the most vulnerable. A better identification of high-risk areas can help decision-makers to better target interventions to the most in need, which is especially important in resource-limited countries. The STEREO-III programme of the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO) has recently funded three projects aiming at improving methods for mapping and modelling African cities based on remote sensing. The objectives were to (i) model and forecast urban population patterns, including built-up and population densities at a high resolution using a fusion of optical and SAR data and contribute to the WorldPop open access archive of spatial demographic datasets, (ii) combine multi-source environmental, climate, demographic and socio-economic layers to predict intra-urban vector-borne disease risk such as malaria and (iii) provide information on the location, extension and environmental characteristics of deprived urban areas (often referred to as ‘slums’) at a limited cost. All three projects were motivated by the need to overcome limitations due to a lack of appropriate data in terms of quantity, quality and/or cost. Various datasets and methodologies were developed and made available in open access. Particular attention was given to the automation of processes in order to facilitate their transferability and generalization. Knowledge transfer activities were also organized to share the developed tools with stakeholders.