Planning for Informality Website
SCODA – South African Cities Open Data Almanac

The South African Cities Open Data Almanac (SCODA) is a platform that improves access, analysis and insight into current and comparable information about South African cities through various tools. SCODA is a collaboration between OCL and South African Cities Network (SACN).

Databasing & portals
System deployment

Monitoring how cities are planned and managed is important. Cities generate a lot of data and without a centralised, standardised repository for this, it is incredibly hard to compare information across cities to map development. Planning for the future is also challenging when there is no clear picture of what is happening across South African cities.


The SCODA platform aims to provide evidence, analysis and insight into city data through the following tools: 

  • The data management system, or data portal, gathers, manages and stores the data sets from different cities. The data portal enables access to raw, downloadable data. These datasets can be used by city practitioners, academics, the private sector and citizens.
  • The data explorer is a dashboard that provides a visual snapshot of key information on cities in South Africa in a simple format that is easy to understand and engage with. 
  • The codebook is a live list of common city indicators providing definitions, methodologies for collection, and data availability of comparable city data. The codebook can be used to locate city data, understand how indicators have been constructed, where data is sourced from, and is linked to the data explorer where information can be visualised and analysed.
  • The demographic modeller is a custom data tool that is a powerful predictor of internal migration within South African metros. The tool reduces the need to outsource data analytics to corporates, which tends to be costly.
  • Data stories give clear visual insights into key narratives developed from the data. Data stories explore key issues with images, infographics and graphs to generate interest in a more accessible manner than complex data sets.

SCODA makes city data more transparent and organises this in an accessible and interactive manner. Having clear indicators, being able to see changes over time, and being able to compare cities’ development both locally and internationally enables greater understanding of what is happening across South African cities and more informed decision-making by government.

Moving forward

Greater collaboration can be fostered between the SA Cities Network and cities to further strengthen the SCODA platform. Currently, we are improving the impact measurements so that we can better understand the impact of the tool to ensure that SCODA is meeting cities’ data needs.