Giving Compass’ Take:
• India Development Review details the country’s goal to become slum-free and what that means for transforming city neighborhoods through policies and funding.
• Special zoning provisions are a focus in this article, but the main takeaway that could apply to urban development in any country is that there is no quick fix — improving the lives of those living in poverty requires patience and persistence.
“Slum-free city” is a term that is often used in India’s urban policy halls. It reflects both an important aspiration but also a crucial public obligation — of our urban local bodies, but also of state and central governments.
But what exactly does it mean to be slum-free? And by extension, if a city has to be slum-free, what happens to the slums themselves, when their living conditions improve? What are they called? Put another way, when does a slum stop being a slum? Surprisingly, there is no publicly stated policy on this key question. Nor is there enough data on the path out of slum-hood to neighborhood.
Census 2011 provides a fair amount of information on India’s slums (some of this data has been challenged, but leaving this aside): the definition (minimum 60 households); the number of Indian cities that have slums (2,600) the number of slums across the country (33,500); the population in these slums(65.5 million): the infrastructure available (56% with access to water, 90% use electric power), and so on. But there is no information on slums that are no longer slums, those neighborhoods that were slums in 2001 and graduated into… what?
This isn’t a trivial question. It forces us to define the desired end-state of a slum in very specific terms, so that slums can transition to this end-state, and people in the households there get access to the minimum quality of life that they deserve as citizens.
Read the full article about achieving slum-free cities in India by Swati Ramanathan at India Development Review.
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