The Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) project stems from a programme of research and capacity building that aims to reduce disaster risk in urban sub-Saharan Africa, by breaking cycles of risk accumulation. The Urban ARK consortium comprises researchers from a number of universities and NGOs in Africa and the UK, and was part-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The objective of the Urban ARK programme is to provide a focal point for knowledge generation, policy analysis and capacity building to underpin the growing demand for effective and equitable risk reduction strategies for urban sub-Saharan Africa. The website aims to support the project by:
- Updating and informing on the projects progress in an accessible and usable manner
- Providing a searchable repository for project documents and outputs
- Supporting other digital technology opportunities for project information sharing, eg., pre nations, video etc., where appropriate and cost effective
- Creating a multi-stakeholder space where individuals and organisations from different parts of the sector can come together to innovate and find shared solutions
Working closely with key members of the consortium, including by King’s College London and the International Institute for Environment and Development, we developed a responsive website in Drupal v.7, using a selection of core, contributed and custom-coded software modules. Working from wireframe prototypes and mobile-first design mockups, and using state of the art tools, we built a bilingual (English and French) web site with content provided by the client. The live site is hosted on an Acquia cloud server with front-end caching, and considerable work went into ensuring a fast and accessible website for visitors in the global North and South on any size device. Administrator and site editor user roles were created, and training was provided on the platform. Subsequent content updates (such as new case study texts and PDF document uploads) were – and continue to be – carried out by the site’s registered users.