SDI federations work with whole communities to count households, map settlements, and survey at the household level to develop a detailed socio-economic profile of the settlement. When communities own their own information, they are able to gather more accurate information, and become active partners in planning their development. SDI federations work with local governments to verify and legitimize their findings, in order to mainstream community-collected information for city-wide planning purposes.
Community planning activities build political capital for communities both internally and externally. Within communities, activities like enumeration and mapping create space for communities to: identify developmental priorities, organize leadership down to the street and household level, expose and then mediate grievances between various segments of the community, and cohere around future planning.
Such activities also serve as a platform for engagement with governments and other stakeholders involved in planning and setting policy for development in urban informal settlements. A key aspect of community planning activities is that communities own the information that they collect. When they share the data with government, they are able to create new relationships — and even institutions — that make the poor integral role players in the decisions that affect their lives.