Speaker Bio & Abstract
BiographyClara Mundia is the Location Analytics (LOCAN) department head in Dalberg Research. She has built a unique team of GIS specialists in Kenya that addresses unmet client services at different scales using GIS, remote sensing, statistics, and machine learning methods. Dr. Mundia is a geospatial professional with over 12 years of experience in the application of spatial analytics in research projects in the health and natural resources fields within the Sub-Saharan context. As a researcher, her interests have focused on major development challenges faced by developing countries, including water supply, malaria epidemiology, food security, financial inclusion, market research, and youth employment. Dr. Mundia holds a BSc. in Environmental Science/Biology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an MSc. in Geography and Environmental Resources and a Ph.D. in Environmental Resources and Policy from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She is a member of the International Geographical Honor Society- Gamma Theta Upsilon, the Association of American University Women (AAUW), and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). She serves as a steering committee member of Women in Geospatial+. AbstractIn the last decade, Africa has witnessed a significant economic and social transformation. Sub-Saharan Africa is thought to be the worlds fastest urbanizing region. African urban centers sustain economic growth and drive the national GDP. With the growing populations and limited employment opportunities in the rural areas, there is a rapid migration of populations, mostly the youth, from rural areas in search of improved livelihoods. However, this rapid influx may have negative repercussions, especially if those centers are not well-equipped with infrastructure and social services to sustainably support that increase growth. Several countries have committed to invest in building local capacity to manage their urban growth rate, at great cost. This urban transition offers tremendous scope to develop models that balance social, economic, environmental factors to facilitate building better cities. It requires leveraging improved data, particularly spatial data, and technologies to undertake spatial planning to affect the necessary policy changes. Sustainable spatial planning will solve many of the challenges of urban (and rural) development and promote the correct use of land and natural resources for long-term development. It is therefore increasingly becoming commonplace in national and international policy documents.