By switching to dark mode you can reduce the energy consumption of our digital service.

Using citizen science to identify the water and sanitation needs of homeless populations in Mexico City

This case study demonstrates how citizen science can be used to identify the water and sanitation needs of homeless populations in Mexico City.

SEI Urban Toolbox for Liveable Cities Annotation

This case study is part of the SEI Urban Toolbox for Liveable Cities which has been developed by the SEI Initiative on City Health and Wellbeing. The Urban Toolbox is a collection of tools, developed within SEI or in coordination with SEI, aimed at supporting planning and decision-making for improving the health, well-being and resilience of city residents and urban systems more broadly. It demonstrates how a co-created citizen science approach can be used to assess air quality in an urban area.



Water and sanitation (WASH) services in public spaces are essential, but there is limited data on the availability or quality of these services in many urban contexts. Providing safe access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services can protect the well-being, dignity, and health of all individuals participating in urban life. However, safe WASH services are often overlooked in planning and management processes. In Latin America, one of the most urbanized regions on the planet, with 82% of the population living in cities, many existing WASH services found in urban areas are often unsafe, difficult to locate, and poorly maintained.

Citizen science methods have proven to be a successful approach in increasing awareness, knowledge, engagement, and action on environmental and urban issues, and they offer new opportunities for data collection in the context of water, sanitation, and hygiene.

SEI has extensive experience in the development and application of citizen science methodologies in different contexts and with diverse groups. This project provides an opportunity to leverage the knowledge and experiences gained from previous projects to expand the frontiers of citizen science.


To test co-created citizen science methodologies with homeless individuals in two districts of Mexico City. Our objective is to better understand their WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) needs by evaluating the quality of existing public WASH facilities and establishing criteria for what they consider a safe public WASH facility. This includes the following objectives:

  1. Utilize the jointly created citizen science guide by SEI as a basis to co-create citizen science methods, with key stakeholders and the target population, that aid in identifying, locating, and assessing the quality of existing WASH facilities.
  2. Engage members of vulnerable groups in a data collection period using jointly developed citizen science methods.
  3. Monitor and evaluate the implemented citizen science methodologies to identify successes and challenges in using these approaches with marginalized communities and addressing WASH issues.

Related resources

Add your project

Exchange your climate change adaptation projects and lessons learned with the global community.