Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) committee and trainers after the pre-installation training.

Model of Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) Network design and implementation as envisioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and TunapandaNET

Simplified representation of the Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) illustrating the interconnection of the four KPSP sites selected for the pilot phase of the Living Data Hubs project

Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) committee and trainers after the pre-installation training.

Model of Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) Network design and implementation as envisioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and TunapandaNET

Living Data Hubs

People and Data in Kibera, a joint project between KDI, TunapandaNet, and the Civic Data Design Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will leverage a community WiFi network to anchor community data collection and information sharing capabilities in the Kibera Public Space Network.

Community Wifi networks are increasingly being recognized as important complementary infrastructures in addressing issues of digital inclusion and meaningful internet connectivity across the Global South. Not only can they provide new ways to connect the unconnected to the Internet, but they also serve as important tools to support rich local content and services. In some of our projects in the US and others across the globe, these community-owned, community-centered, and community-driven solutions are providing new opportunities for community action. One such aspect is in the collection of often neglected data on the environment and surroundings. Each Living Data Hub will consist of a wireless antenna and router, sensors, and a low power computer empowering communities with the technologies and tools needed to actively engage in the collection of data that they care about.

Model of Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) Network design and implementation as envisioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and TunapandaNET

Kibera has sparse WiFi access, while mobile data - like other necessities such as water and fuel - is often cost-prohibitive. Despite playing a central role in Nairobi’s economy, the vast majority of residents are cut off from their right to basic infrastructure and connectivity.

For all of their entrepreneurship and community activism, if residents of Kibera are unable to connect affordably, it will be difficult to increase their quality of life and participate in the decisions that shape their communities. The co-design of technology with low-income communities; the integration of digital and built infrastructure to expand access to the public good; and the elevation of environmental data to promote citizen-city collaboration are all innovations that Living Data Hub seeks to realize.
Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network (KPSPIN) committee interacting with networking equipment during the interactive pre-installation training.

The Living Data Hubs will be located within the KPSP community-managed public spaces and dubbed KPSPIN (Kibera Productive Public Space Internet Network). This KPSPIN will be managed by a committee comprising the Organizer, Techie, and Handyperson.

We are working alongside Civic Data Design Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and existing CBOs to; co-design, construct, and maintain the Living Data Hubs, promoting community stewardship of essential infrastructure, expanding reliable internet access, while building employability of community members.
TunapandaNET network engineer installing an outdoor networking device at Kibera Public Space 11 site

KDI and partners have recently started to explore different types of environmental data collection using sensors to begin to fill in the existing knowledge gaps.

The Living Data Hubs will capture essential environmental data points that already exist in most developed communities, such as rainfall, temperature, air quality, and water levels. This will help the community create evidence around the environmental issues they face every day and advocate for services and infrastructure to address them while enabling the city to better understand the scale and distribution of climate risk and provide residents with clearer, more tailored information for management and mitigation.
A futuristic representation of information flow for the entire Kibera Public Space Project network in Kibera

The Living Data Hubs will incorporate an education component in which residents learn how to install wireless mesh networks and sensors, interpret data through data clinics, and begin to collect data beyond the initial sensors through their cell phones.

It is not just environmental data that is critical in places like Kibera, but it is also crucial to keep up to date with local business data so that small businesseses can be recognized on tools such as Google Maps. As part of the education program, we aim to teach the CBOs how to turn the provision of the internet into an income generation opportunity. We plan to physically integrate the hubs with additional infrastructure components at the public spaces - according to the community’s preferences while ensuring WiFi access for community members of all ages and abilities and promoting economic opportunity, social resilience, and collective environmental action.