Zoom in Details
Mapping the location of existing services for babies, toddlers and caregivers, and comparing their location to where the most families in need live, allows decision-makers to focus interventions in areas where they will have the greatest impact.
- Government Agencies Engaged:
- Education, Health, Parks and Gardens, Social Development, Urban Development
- Implementing Agency:
- Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), in cooperation with Kadir Has University Istanbul Studies Center
- Funding Source:
- Bernard van Leer Foundation
- City-wide. The programme provides robust data for action on early childhood needs and services throughout all of Istanbul’s 39 district municipalities.
- Implementation action in focus:
- Scan and identify
- Istanbul, Turkey
- All 39 district municipalities of Istanbul
Summary of Intervention/Programme
The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) analysed city-wide data on access to early years services for Istanbul’s most vulnerable families with the goal of informing urban policy and public space interventionsThe Kadir Has University Istanbul Studies Center first mapped districts of Istanbul by age group and market value at the neighbourhood level, identifying residential concentrations of families with children 0-4, using real-estate values as a proxy for income. The resulting interactive maps highlights areas where the highest number of young children in low-income families live.
“We have identified where to look for pregnant woman to reach them as part of our parent support program, thanks to these maps.” – Home visitor from Sarıyer Municipality.
- Next, TESEV combined data from municipal surveys on education, health, parks and green spaces and social aid services with the maps on an interactive digital platform. The platform allows Istanbul district municipal employees, decision makers and citizens to track municipal services across districts.
- The results illustrate a powerful correlation between a family’s income insecurity and lack of access to early years services and programmes; in other words, the lower the income, the less access a family tends to have. As a result of this finding, municipal leaders began focusing interventions in the areas with demonstrated vulnerability.
What worked well
Using proxies to make the data speak
Once technical staff determined that income data was inconsistent or incomplete, they shifted course to use real estate values as a proxy for income. This course correction allowed the project to achieve its objective without requiring the costly and cumbersome collection of new population-wide data.
In addition, working with municipalities to retrieve real estate values allowed the researchers to make use of this direct relationship with government to easily gather accurate data on the location of services.
Positioning data to inform action
The availability of robust and transparent data on existing services and areas most in need has prompted district municipalities that are invested in Urban95 to take action by launching public space and other projects in targeted areas.
All interventions target the families and locations identified in the study as most in need. Four district municipalities also launched non-spatial interventions such as home-visiting programs to train key skills of parents with babies and toddlers under 3.
The output – a decision-making tool open to all
The interactive website is open to and provides value to municipal staff and residents alike. It is both a useful tool for decision-making for the Urban95 initiative, and a powerful advocacy tool for more focus on early childhood in Istanbul and globally.
Combining local data and population-level data
The maps combined data from district municipalities (real estate values and location of services) and data produced by the Turkish Statistics Institute (age groups by neighbourhood). Although both data sets are open and accessible, combining those data has enabled the local teams to better target services.
What didn't work well
A decision making tool open to all is both an achievement and a challenge. TESEV and ISC produced those maps by collecting data from different institutes, however the map’ utility will not be sustained unless the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality takes ownership of the tool and ensures maintenance and update. The TESEV and ISC teams are addressing the issue by ensuring that any new map produced is owned directly by the municipal government.