In the June edition, we are highlighting how the private sector is using technology to build safer and inclusive public spaces. The project ‘Safetipin’ is a mobile app and technology platform that collects and disseminates information and data about safety issues in a city.

UN-Habitat is working in cities and human settlements throughout the world, focusing on applying its technical expertise, normative work and capacity development to implement the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. A component of the UN-Habitat Safer Cities toolkit includes a participatory safety audit implementation tool that aims at strengthening crime data collection and analysis capacities and promoting the development of local government-led, evidence-based policies, and monitoring frameworks in the selected cities.

Each month, we feature one of the Best Practices winners from the 11th Cycle of the Dubai International Award endorsed by UN-Habitat and Dubai Municipality. We hope that these best practices will inform and inspire you on initiatives that are making effective interventions to improve the lives of urban residents around the globe. The 11th cycle comprised of the following categories:

WINNER for the Private Sector Award for contribution to territorial planning, urban planning and design

This award category is given to a private sector organization that has successfully given technical assistance and advice to local government for the development and implementation of effective territorial and urban design plans to act on the form, character and functionality of the city, increasing prosperity and sustainability.

Name of Organization: Active Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd

Title of Best Practice Initiative: Using Safetipin to Build Safer and Inclusive Public spaces

Country: India

How is Safetipin used to Build Safer and Inclusive Public spaces?

Data is generated through two mobile apps - My Safetipin which is a platform for citizen engagement and user generated data. The second app Safetipin Nite collects pictures of the city through a vehicle. The tool of the safety audit helps to identify specific parameters that make a city feel unsafe for women and girls in particular.

Safety in public spaces is a big problem in cities around the world, particularly developing countries and in India where this initiative began. Women are particularly vulnerable to violence and fear and this prevents their equal participation in urban life. Crime rates have been rising.

Methods used in collecting data in 30 cities across India

The initiative is focused on collecting data for two purposes:

1. To help individual citizens make safer decisions

2. To help city governments and authorities improve urban safety.

There exists 2 applications and a technology platform for data analysis and data visualization. These provide data and technical support on using the data to urban stakeholders, government and civil society. Through these two methods they collect data in 30 cities in India and globally.

The mobile application has been downloaded over 70,000 times and ensure a constant interaction with users. Further we have worked closely with university students and youth to collect data in many cities including NewDelhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune in India and Nairobi, Jakarta and Manila.

The initiative works very closely with NGO's and women's groups who work at the grassroot level in low income neighborhoods . The data has been used to effect several kinds of responses. In Delhi it has led to improvement of dark spots around the city; in Bhopal it led to addressing safety and infrastructure along the bus corridor; in Bogota, the city administration have placed CCTV cameras at vulnerable spots pointed out by the Safetipin data.

We assess performance through measuring usage of our app which are available through app analytics this we measure on a weekly basis. We also assess through how urban stakeholders use the data for advocacy of programming. This is a measurement of our outreach, partnership building and usefulness of data for improving conditions of safety.

Over 70,000+ people have benefited from the Safetipin App

● Safetipin is an innovation that was launched in November 2013. In less than four years they reached out to more than 70,000 people through the app.

● They have also reached out to local authorities in more than 10 cities (India and globally).

● In Delhi, the city authorities have used the data provided by Safetipin identifying 7483 dark spots in the which women pointed out as being unsafe. They have improved lighting in almost 50% of the locations and are working on the rest.

● Poor lighting has been shown as key parameter that causes women to feel unsafe and avoid places.

● In Nairobi the Safer Cities initiative of the City County used the data in one low income neighborhood to hold community meetings and assess what kinds of changes people want in order to feel safer.

UN-Habitat's Safer Cities Programme

During the past two decades, UN-Habitat Safer Cities Programme has played an active role in developing guidance to empower local governments and other stakeholders to strengthen their capacities in urban safety and security developing evidence-based urban crime prevention and safety policies/plans and monitoring frameworks that address multi-causal factors of crime and violence.

Since the year 2000, UN-Habitat Safer Cities Programme has piloted this tool in cities in Africa (Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Durban, Yaounde, Douala, Ouagadougou, Abidjan), Eastern Europe (Serbia), Latin America and the Caribbean (Kingston, Bogota), among others where these audits informed the development of the city’s crime prevention policies.

Women's Safety Audits increase awareness of violence against vulnerable groups and help users and decision-makers to understand how men and women experience their environments. It gives legitimacy to women's concerns and are an effective tool for building community safety.

In the previous Best Practices Feature, May edition, we highlighted the winning initiative for the Best Practice Award in Participatory Slum Upgrading category. The project ‘Empower Shack, an integrated development approach to informal settlement upgrading' incorporates an innovative design and organizational model to upgrade informal settlements through the development, implementation and evaluation of three core components: a two-story housing prototype; a participatory spatial planning process; and an integrated livelihoods programming approach..

Created By
Lynne Karago

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