page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4 page 5
page 6
< prev - next > Social and economic development Social Development KnO 100680_Sustainable Slum Upgrading (Printable PDF)
Sustainable slum upgrading
Practical Action
The management of the operation and maintenance of upgraded infrastructure needs to be under
the control of the recipient, be that the state or the community. An appropriately designed and
implemented intervention that the recipient is able to maintain, and is motivated to maintain is
an indicator of the sustainability of a project. This sense of ownership is crucial for the success
of a physical intervention and has been demonstrated by communities which have been
mobilised to be involved with the upgrading at every step of the implementation. Residents who
contribute financially can aid the community’s buy-in and develop a real sense of ownership.
Upgrading needs to be made affordable to the community, but a successful sense of ownership
can only be achieved with the release of title deeds and security of tenure to the community.
Livelihood generation
Enterprise development and employment opportunities are needed alongside slum upgrading
activities for poverty reduction. Case studies of successful upgrading watsan infrastructure in
Kibera have shown that a key component was the formation of management communities and
jobs created for the facility managers. These jobs helped position the new facilities within the
centre of the community and helped to gain the respect of the society and therefore value of the
project. By valuing the project the community consider the facilities to be an asset to the
community and are more likely to protect it for the future and operate, manage and maintain it
as best they can for the good of themselves and future generations, thus supporting
sustainability. Conversely, case studies of slum resettlement projects in India which lacked
enterprise development components resulted in the community being forced to relocate away
from their previous livelihoods due to the situation of available land for the rehabilitation. In this
case, the engagement of an NGO to work with and support communities with their livelihoods
would have been beneficial to better support income generating activities thus enabling
communities to improve their economic mobility.
Cultural differences
There are differences between communities
in different situations which affects the
sustainability of slum upgrading
interventions in those contexts. For
example, in one situation residents may be a
strategic, hardworking and forward looking
population with the hope and desire to
better oneself and the situation of future
generations. Whereas in another, the
perceptions may differ in that there is less
of an emphasis on personally bettering
oneself and more of an expectation of
support from others and particularly the
government with less responsibility on the
individual. It could be interpreted that the
people’s aspirations differ across cultures
which impacts on their hopes and desires.
Aspirations in life may be developed from an
awareness of opportunities, access to
information and education which people in
these developing situations are often
Figure 4: Job creation with watsan
deprived of.
infrastructure upgrading in Kibera, Kenya.
Advantages of slum-dwelling
The slum development discourse has been
led by people who do not reside in slums and often international development professionals
coming from a developed or ‘westernised’ point of view. Such people may consider the physical
manifestation of slums as demeaning in some way of the human ambition. Some more wealthy
people may be repelled and fearful of slums as in a sense the expression of where society needs
to escape from. But research has shown that slum dwellers do not always consider the slum as a
key feature of their lives, but rather their relationships, spirituality, creativity, hope, ambition and