About Open Reblock

Reblocking is a process of physical transformation of a slum to provide street access to all its structures and set up urban services, efficient water management, emergency assistance and all other benefits of an urban street network. You can see an example of the reblocking process in this blog post from Shack/Slum Dwellers International.

This project aims to create a web-based service for an open-source code base that develops the least-disruptive extension of the existing street network to bring infrastructure and services to informal settlements and set up the conditions for the formalization of land use and property records.

Scientific Methods

This research project is a collaboration between Christa Brelsford, Taylor Martin, Joe Hand, and Luís M. A. Bettencourt, researchers from the Santa Fe Institute cities group and Sam Houston State University and Slum Dweller Federations. More details on the scientific methods are available in our working papers: The Topology of Cities and Optimal Re-blocking as a Practical Tool for Neighborhood Development.

Development and Design

The development and design of this site is a collaboration between College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley, Stamen, and the Santa Fe Institute. Contibutors from UC Berkeley include Nicholas de Monchaux, Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga, Wenzhe Peng, and Eleanna Panagoulia. Design by the Stamen design and technology studio. You can view the source for this site and the topology algorithm on GitHub.

Reblocking Process and Data

This work began through a collaboration with Slum/Shack Dwellers International. SDI has used the reblocking process throughout their network. Data and detailed examples were provided with help from SDI South African Alliance and Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation and Dialogue on Shelter.


To support this work or for any questions, please contact us. We aim to produce a version of open-reblock where the proposed street layout is easy to edit and adapt to local considerations, in order to promote professional neighborhood planning by slum communities and local governments.