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Startup Wants to Chart Path to More Equitable Urban Development

OneCity says its digital-mapping app can help planners create housing that better serves the needs of the poor.

OneCity founder Yuriy Milevskiy.

OneCity founder Yuriy Milevskiy.

Source: OneCity

People with the greatest need for inexpensive housing are often excluded from the services and networks that they need to get ahead and, eventually, land jobs that might help them afford to live in an area where those facilities are available.

While there’s no easy fix, London startup OneCity aims to help. The company has created a digital-mapping tool for urban planners and property developers that can show more than a dozen variables such as transport links, demographic data, schools, hospitals, and zoning restrictions. The company says the app, with a grant from the UK government and a cash infusion by founder Yuriy Milevskiy, can help developers make urban spaces more equitable by figuring out the best places to build so new residents can reach important amenities. And it’s testing the idea in a pilot project with a developer in one of the world’s most unequal cities: Johannesburg. We spoke with Milevskiy, a 39-year-old with a background in property development. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.