Mapping Secondary Cities, using a citizen science approach: study case Esmeraldas-Ecuador

Authors: Lorena Benitez*, , Carlos F. Mena, Instituto de Geografía, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Patricia Martínez, Instituto de Geografía, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Carolina Sampedro, Instituto de Geografía, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Ecuador, Esmeraldas, gis science, secondary cities
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Mapping secondary cities, defined as cities that are growing in size and importance, outside of the traditional poles of development within the country, is crucial for building resilience in the community, through emergency planning management, and the sustainable development of vulnerable neighborhoods. Esmeraldas is a coastal city located at the Northwest of Ecuador. It covers an area of 70,5 km2 and, because its favorable geographical location, hosts one of the largest seaports in the northern Ecuador, an oil Refinery, and is the terminus of the trans-Ecuadorian pipeline. In the last 25 years, the Esmeraldas’ population has increased on double without an appropriated urban planning. Couple with high rates of poverty and rapid growth, Esmeraldas’ vulnerable population is increasing and these trends area exacerbated by natural disasters and social problems. In this contexts, Esmeraldas secondary cities 2C project uses “community monitoring” techniques to map and visualize features that have not been collected by traditional mapping efforts. It focused on developing geospatial on social and environmental risks that affect the city, such as floods, landslides, contamination, violence and the actual situation of informal settlements. Since 2017, this projects has collected data about these issues using a citizen science approach. We believe that access to technical resources and information in a coordinated work with the community and institutions in charge of public policies, are the appropriated tools to avoid a social crisis in which vulnerabilities of the poorest population are exacerbated by natural disasters.

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