In this article, I will talk about two ways GIS can help the Kenyan government provide affordable housing to the country’s medium and low-income populations.
First, GIS is computer-based information system that when incorporated with the required data helps in decision making. Implementing affordable housing schemes requires making good decisions at times quickly. GIS can be used to select suitable locations for these affordable housing schemes. Using GIS to map land use and land cover (LULC) over the proposed areas for housing schemes will help the government identify available land. Further, network analysis can provide information on the availability and adequacy of social amenities and infrastructure in the areas. By using these techniques, the government will be able identify locations that require infrastructure and social amenities to make them available and areas that meet all the necessary requirements. Change detection analysis on the other hand will give information population and development trends such as settlements, agricultural expansion and urbanization. This kind of information will enable the government to estimate the rate at which residential houses are coming up hence the need and demand for housing in a region to sustain the population at the time and future populations. Constructing thematic maps based on population data can be very useful for this.
Secondly, one of the innovative ways for getting funding for the affordable housing proposed by the government is mapping the Nairobi area to show the lands that pay land taxes and those that do not. In this way the government will be able to identify get the lost revenue once these taxes are enforced. GIS techniques can be used for this.
So, it’s clear that GIS can play a big role in meeting the goal of providing affordable housing. Let’s therefore support and explore the potential of GIS and reap its benefits.
About the author
Edward Mwangi 4th year Geospatial Engineering Student, Department of Geospatial Engineering and Spatial Technologies, University of Nairobi (UoN)