Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slum Upgrading

While urbanization is not inherently problematic, the pace and sheer scale at which it occurs has, in many places, far exceeded local government capacity or willingness to provide basic services to city residents. These services including adequate housing, water, electricity, and sanitation. This problem has been particularly pronounced in developing countries. As a result, urbanization in many places has led to the creation or consolidation of vast urban slums, where thousands and sometimes millions of urban residents live in sub-standard housing conditions, without access to even the most basic services [6].

Tenure insecurity in urban areas also impacts on the ability of informal dwellers to voice their concerns, since they may not  be officially recognized as urban/city residents. Informal urban dwellers’ often have limited access to services such as water and sewage, electricity, pavements, waste collection, among others. Across the world, large numbers of urban dwellers live under one of the following conditions:

Urban areas may lack of formal land and property titles. These areas may result from informal occupation of land and self-construction, or from the prolonged occupation of abandoned buildings. Some formal land and property titles may exist in urban areas, but documentation may be inadequate or incomplete. Informal settlements are often a consequence consequence of irregular or illegal land parceling and building processes, improper permitting or licensing procedures, and inappropriate building and land use regulations from planning departments or other administrative bodies.

Informal settlements can take many forms. Not all slums are illegal or unauthorized. Many are fully legal – recognized by the appropriate government authority – but have poor infrastructure and services or are lacking proper documentation. Others are located on land that the occupier purchased through appropriate legal channels, but the transaction is not recorded in a land registry or the land is not zoned for residential development. Each of these types of informal settlements may in some ways serve the needs of populations with various income levels, and represent a semi-effective strategy for accommodating urban populations. Understanding how informal settlements help the poor and marginalized cope with urban life is critical to understanding how best to upgrade settlements and integrate the poor into sustainable and livable cities [7].

Slum upgrading means improving living conditions of informal settlements in a responsible manner, and providing access to decent housing in the short term and in the long term.


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