ADB Grant to Develop Innovative Tool for Disaster Management and Urban Planning in the Philippines

Around 52% of the Philippine population reside in cities and urban municipalities and the number is expected to rise to 62% in 2050. The sector is particularly vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with informal settlement and poverty continuing to be a concern in urban areas. As a significant driver of the national economy, building the resilience of urban areas is critical to the country’s sustainable development.

To address this, ADB awarded a grant valued at about $450,000 to LocationMind, Inc. to support the development of a poverty impact and vulnerability evaluation (PIVE) tool designed to assist policy makers, planners, and other stakeholders in disaster management and urban planning.

ADB and LocationMind, a Tokyo-based location information and satellite intelligence startup, are working closely with national and local government units, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and academic institutions to develop the PIVE tool and implement it in two pilot areas in the Philippines.

PIVE is a framework designed to transform available data on local environments, communities, mobility, and people into digital assets that provide valuable insights in designing inclusive cities and improving the resilience of vulnerable communities.

PIVE tool
Figure 1: PIVE components


In particular,   PIVE collates and quantifies a wide range of data—including mobile data, satellite imaging data, census data, field survey data, and chatbots, among others—from various sources and analyzes these to generate information on poor and vulnerable populations. Digital assets generated using this tool can help comprehensively assess the vulnerability of individuals and communities to disasters, economic shocks, and health crises, enabling the government and development partners to design and implement targeted and data-informed interventions.

The grant was awarded as part of the Technology Innovation Challenge managed by ADB’s Innovation Hub and financed by ADB’s High-Level Technology (HLT) Fund, which aims to promote the adoption of HLT and innovative solutions to address development challenges in ADB’s developing member countries. LocationMind will cofinance around 10% of the project budget.

The project will kick off with an inception workshop at ADB’s headquarters in Manila, Philippines. The workshop will bring together LocationMind’s PIVE team and counterparts in ADB, government officials, NGOs, academia, and urban residents to discuss various aspects of the project. Several other workshops are planned to gather multistakeholder feedback on the PIVE tool’s system design, data management, and usability. Capacity-building and training workshops are likewise scheduled to allow relevant stakeholders to use the PIVE tool’s solutions.

Implementation of the grant project is scheduled for 15 months ending in May 2024, and activities include location visits, stakeholder consultation, data acquisition, and software development.   At the end of the project, PIVE’s potential for scaling up and adaptation to other use cases will also be assessed.

This work builds upon previous and ongoing ADB technical assistance projects that examined the feasibility of compiling granular poverty maps using satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms to more comprehensively understand the effects of societal changes on vulnerable populations.

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