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A dissertation presented to the Department of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University in part fulfilment of the regulations for BA (Hons) in Architecture

Statement of Originality This dissertation is an original piece of work which is made available for copying with permission of the Head of the Deparment of Architecture

....................................................................... Thomas K Greenfield

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1. Preface

2. Introduction

3. Living in slums

4. Approaches to upgrading

5. Nairobi case study

6. Mumbai case study

7. Conclusion

8. References

9. Picture credits

10. Bibliography

11. Appendices

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1. Preface From their early appearance in London’s east-end in the early 1800’s, poor quality, urban housing, un-hygienic conditions and illegal activities such as drug abuse have been synonymous with the word ‘slum’. Dickens described it: ‘...a foul back street of a city, especially filled with a poor, dirty, degraded and often vicious population; any low neighbourhood or dark retreat - usually in the plural, as Westminster slums are haunts for thieves.’ (Webster, M, 1913) Slums can take form in a few different ways: Firstly, in our pre-conceived, traditional ideas, being constructed from scrap materials in a ramshackle fashion, but also in the original slum style; a dwelling created from a disused, unsafe building, previously vacated by richer occupants. This is what the slums in London mainly consisted of. These old buildings would often be segregated and sub-let to more occupants. This is also prevalent in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but the slum population is too great for the number of buildings and a large number of people live in self-built huts annexed onto each other. This is known as informal housing.

Slums: Of Hope or despair What can be done to improve them?

2. Introduction

“When I think of a slum, I think of misery” (McCloud, 2010) A far right politician would argue that poverty cannot be stopped, while on the other hand, a far left politician would argue that the poor can rise up and overcome their poverty. In all realism, the far right politician would probably be right. There will always be poor people, but hopefully over time, the amount can be reduced significantly through well planned programs that work.

Why do people live in slums? Not out of choice. As the subsistence farmers in the rural parts of the country struggle to make money, the urban environment seems attractive. Arthur Lewis in 1954 proposed a model where the unproductive, rural labourers moved to a fast-paced urban, industrial sector, it was assumed that the rapidly expanding urban economy would absorb these workers. However, it appears that since then, the urban economy is failing to keep up with the urban growth leading to a serious unemployment problem of finding work in the formal sector. Most of the rural-urban migrants have failed to get the jobs they desired and have been forced to survive from informal work (Beall and Fox, 2009). This over-confidence of the urban environment has lead to the urban poor being comprised of refugees, displaced persons, foreign immigrants and rural-urban migrants; but this is often dependent on the city. The rural-urban migrants make up a large portion of the urban poor; UNHABITAT 2003 (United Nations Human Settlements Program) identifies the main features of contemporary urbanisation from this particular group:

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Push factors: Environmental degradation; declining productivity of cropland; low rural incomes; lack of new lands for farming; move to export rather than subsistence farming; enclosure and consolidation of farm holdings; limited off-farm employment.

Pull factors: Higher incomes in urban areas; greater employment opportunities; economic safety nets; availability of social services, education and health care; improved water supply and other environmental services and infrastructure.

“...four groups (rural-migrants, displaced persons, refugees and foreign workers) constitute the majority of slum dwellers, all of them generally living in particularly precarious conditions (eg daily/unstable employment, illegal paper, etc)” (UNHABITAT, 2003).

         

From reading several books relating to life in slums, it seems that there is ambiguity as to what a slum really is. The UNHABITAT report describes in detail that a universally recognised definition of ‘slum’ has not been realised, but it quite correctly states that ‘Slums, like poverty are multi-dimensional in nature’ (UNHABITAT, 2003, p. 46). Davis, 2006 p. 25 outlines the fact that many of the urban environment’s poorest are not slum dwellers; they live elsewhere outside the slum. A World Bank report cited in ‘A Possible Way Out: Formalizing Housing Informality in Egyptian Cities’ (Soliman. 2004 p.125) states that approximately one quarter of urbanites (in 1988) live in ‘absolute’ poverty, struggling to survive on less than 1 dollar per day. Are these people to be known as sub-slum dwellers? Obudho and Mhlanga (1988) also raise this issue in their book ‘Slums and Squatter Settlements in sub-Saharan Africa’. They suggest that a slum is known as a slum in the context of the culture. ‘What can be deemed a slum in one culture may be considered an adequate shelter in another culture’ (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988, p. 8). What UN-HABITAT, Davis, Obudho and Mhlanga have done much research on and from reading their books I have determined the following topics as most prolific: Poor sanitation, poor nutrition, insecure employment, poor living conditions, corruption, drastically increasing population growth and a high mortality rate. A slum is inhabited by rural-urban migrants who hope that the urban environment will bear better social amenities such as education, income and health. However, due to the volume of migrants, the urban environment offers little more benefits than the rural and it can be more efficient at fostering contagious, human disease. The ILO (International Labour Office) report describes the informal economy as having a ‘...lack of formal labour and social protection.’ (ILO, 2002, p. 8)

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are two types of slum; a slum of hope and a slum of despair. A slum of hope is one which has recently, or is going through regeneration and renovation. This normally consists of new, self-built structures. As a result the community spirit is generally better than one of a slum of despair: This is a slum which is in a ‘declining’ neighbourhood, which is going through the process of degeneration this includes environmental conditions and domestic services. However, with a lack of government and aid intervention, slums of hope quickly fall into slums of despair. Jobs Access to jobs is arguably the most important factor in the choice of living. As mentioned before, some of the urban poor work in formal and semi-formal industries such as doormen, clerks, driver etc. However, for most, informal work provides a source of income. The slum itself spawns most work such as potters, cloth makers, tan-

The UN-HABITAT report suggests there

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ners, leather workers and ‘companies’ of men offering their services as builders and renovators. The slums have a highemployment rate due to so much informal labour available. “Slums in Nairobi are homes to urban residents who earn comparatively low incomes and have limited assets. Livelihoods are earned through different forms of economic activities, which include: employment as waiters, barmen and barmaids, drivers, watchmen, shop assistants, casual labourers in factories and construction sites, artisans, small business owners, and other income-generating activities such as herbalists, entetainers and carriers of goods.” (UNHABITAT, 2003) A personal friend of mine, Becky Stone, stayed in the slum of Pumwani for 5 months working for Tearfund and took part in various community-based projects. I asked her what the young and older generations do for a living. (See below) An important factor for slum dwellers is job security. The description of the job is almost unimportant as long as they know they will be paid. In a lot of cases, the slum dwellers move to where the jobs are, but often

they are so informal, repeat employment is unlikely. They will then stay in that area until more jobs become available or they will have to move out. The other kind of employment is family based; many extended families work for relatives and therefore have better job security. Overview of Informal Housing: Dwelling Choice: As Ahmed Soliman discusses in Mike Davis’ book – ‘Planet of Slums’(2006), the urban poor have four options in which they can live. The first is to rent an apartment if access to the job market is a high priority. This is expensive and would prevent the tenant from ever owning the place. The second option is an informal shelter, but located very close to the centre. This would usually consist of a very small room or a rooftop, which is often open to the polluting air, but has very cheap rent or no rent. Although not being able to own the dwelling, this choice would have very good access to the job market. The third option is to squat on low quality, publicly owned land, with no government infrastructure usually on the outskirts and

“Older people sometimes worked on stalls in the market or grocery stores dotted around the slums, or sold roasted maize and chapattis by the side of the road, drive taxis, do washing for neighbours, and teach in local schools if they were fortunate enough to be properly educated as children. Children are at school when they’re lucky but often have to miss years when money runs out or sponsorship stops.” (Stone, 2010) 8

downwind of of industrial areas. This is usually, but not always the cheapest option, but means travel into the city costs a lot. The fourth option is to buy a house site in a vast semi-formal development (if available) with legal tenure but without official building authorisation. This option is far from jobs, but the site is secure and sometimes has basic municipal services.

Public / local authority housing: Public housing is purpose built estates to house the poor. They are not very common, and quite expensive. Only the more welloff urban poor can afford to rent. They are built by the government in the cheapest way possible, often skimping on material quality, planning regulations and the design.

Slum dwellers: A slum is a dwelling usually made by the occupier which resides on a government allocated piece of land. The slum dwellers have to weigh up the factors of living; as they try to work out the best combination of housing cost, tenure security, quality of shelter, journey to work and also in some places, personal safety. Squatters: Squatters live on public land, although rent is free, they are often coerced into paying a government official or gangleader or police. This often doesn’t end up as the cheapest option; they are attracted to squatting as they get to spread their costs over a long period of time. Their dwellings often look similar to slum dwellings; however, they usually have little infrastructure whereas a slum usually does, even if it may be in a poor state.

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

Regeneration of a slum has been tried and tested in several different ways. It can be realised in two main ways; either the directed approach (from above, i.e. top down), or the grass roots planning (from below i.e. bottom up). So the regeneration is either led by the government directly, or by the slum-dwellers via local authorities and NGO’s. (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988). Once an authority is engaged to regenerate a slum they have to choose the best way to upgrade. This often depends on the city, and as Mhlanga explains, the need for extensive research before commencing a project is paramount. There are a few different ways to regenerate a slum; firstly, the self-help and site and services schemes, secondly, the slum upgrading and thirdly slum demolition and rebuild. Upgrading dwellings through Self-help: The enabling approach There are arguments to suggest that selfhelp benefits the end user more as they are their own client. However, especially in poor countries, self-help can sometimes be used as a substitute for government assistance. Self-help involves slum dwellers with the construction or upgrading of their current

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dwelling. They are usually given the tools and resources to carry this out themselves. However, the progression of slum upgrading has brought to light the need for the ‘clients’ to get involved with the decision making and design process. From the mid 1980’s, the enabling approach was developed in almost a manifesto-like fashion to hasten the state withdrawal of supporting housing goods and services in favour of providing support for local determination and action (UNHABITAT, 2003) This was enforced by some of the Habitat Agenda’s objectives; “Institutionalising a participatory approach to sustainable human settlements development and management...” and “Facilitating participation by tenants in the management of public and community based housing...” (United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, 1996) By incorporating community design it creates a better designed space and creates a sense of ownership within the occupants. Mhlanga and Obudho identified that the structural design had no relation to the life-style of the occupants, and housing was ineffective (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988). However, where the Challenge of Slums (UNHABITAT, 2003)puts poor hous-

ing decisions down to lack of community participation, Mhlanga puts it down to “the absence of any sociospatial studies prior to the design and construction of the estates” (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988, p. 67). In fact, it is likely that to build a successful scheme, both of these inputs would be required. Having community participation would help keep focus to the design, but these slum-dwellers are largely uneducated and their knowledge of the built environment can be limited, however, they can equally participate in the design process, as they have years of experience of living in slums. With previous research, like Mhlanga and Obudho suggest, seemingly obvious errors can be avoided. But essentially it’s the ‘clients’ whose input is most important. To ascertain the needs of the slum-dwellers, the builders/contractors could conduct their research involving preliminary sketches and questionnaires and develop them with the clients bit-bybit. Doing this limits the input of the governemtn which can be more beneficial to the slum-dwellers as is ‘self-management’ - favoured by Turner, who claims would create liveable environments but also stimulate individual and social well-being. This way would limit the government to being the provider rather than the instigator. (Turner, 1977) The other main issue associated with self-help is that no one wants to work for free. Therefore it is vital that slumdwellers can visualise a realistic outcome (such as gaining secure tenure) before commencing work. The UNHABITAT KENSUP (Kenya Slum Upgrading Pro-

“Ins ing titutio nal ap tory artic isto s appro ipau hum stain ach an able s me ettlents ...”

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gramme) team published a report about upgrading slums in the city of Kisumu, Kenya. In their project ‘Cities without slums’ they aimed to “improve provision of secure tenure, housing improvement, income generation and physical and social infrastructure through participatory interventions” (UN-HABITAT KENSUP, 2008, p. 62). They found that although there was little or no budget within the local authorities (LA), by empowering the LA’s, it contributed to the success of the initiative. However, this was little use if the slum dwellers didn’t want to participate for free. This is understandable, as their time is important to either look for jobs, or carry them out. Sites and Services Sites and services projects, popular in the 1970’s-80’s generally involves the erection of a simple and serviced plot, occasionally with a basic house structure. Then, after purchasing the plot, the owner can build his or her house over time. As with upgrading

Cotton and Franceys in their article in ‘Habitat International’, ‘community maintenance’ is one way to solve the problem. However, it seems hard to believe that a community will happily maintain their own services if they were not actively included with the design and build from the start. In Hyderabad, India, the members of the slum community do not maintain the services as they believe the government will come and fix it, furthermore, the government and the original contractors seem to have split responsibility, so often these problems don’t get sorted out (Cotton & Franceys, 1988). This is due to the issue of ownership of the land; technically the government own the land, but the slum-dwellers claim it, but due to how much it costs, neither parties want to be responsible for the upkeep of the land. Although sites and services sounds like a good solution, the price is expensive and can be too much for most slum dwellers to afford. Lisa Peattie a well-known World Bank critic estimated that 30 - 60% of the

“ Within 5 years all the slum dwellers had left and sold their land to wealthier families” slums through self-help, community participation is a very good way to keep spatial focus to the proposals and although upgrading through sites and services projects is a more expensive approach to slum upgrading, it creats a much more hygienic and liveable shelter. However, unlike the simpler dwelling upgrading, sites and services requires maintenance to increase the product life. Highlighted by

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population (depending on country) were unable to meet the financial obligations of sites and services provision or loans for upgrading. (Peattie, Habitat International - 1987, p69-76) With the World Bank lending more than $2bn in 1988, and helping sites and services in 55 countries, they are in a powerful position to influence urban policies. These poli9 cies were largely suggest-

ed by John Turner - who thought a ‘sitesand-services’ approach to self-help housing was the way forward. What Turner didn’t realise was that by adopting the ‘sites-and-services’ scheme, he was pricing the poor out of a home. Lisa Peattie explains in Habitat International (1987 - p.69-76); “...the Philippines was a pilot country for the World Bank’s new strategy. The money put into the scheme was sent indirectly through the chain to the developers and construction companies.” “ Within 5 years all the slum dwellers had left and sold their land to wealthier families” (Berner, 1998). Upgrading with government assistance It is often the method of choice for councils who chose to upgrade slum and squatter settlements who have been in an urban area for a long period of time. This is because they are the group most likely to cause political instability if they are moved. Secondly this type of upgrading gives power to the government to allocate its resources where it feels most necessary. Upgrading these settlements would mean providing basic services such as potable water, toilets, refuse collection, surface drainage, electricity, schools, streets and footpaths. At the same time the council will attempt to rationalise the site, re-aligning houses in a grid-like formation. (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988). de Soto highlighted in 2001 that there is a grave urgency to provide secure tenure for slum-dwellers, as once they acquire this they can realise the value of their dwellings and aim to self-improve it. Since then, tenure has become a major objective of upgrading (de Soto, 2001). Although the government is in control of this type of upgrade, participation from the slum-dwellers is still necessary and as Mhlanga discusses, a ‘squatter training’ program is useful for them to participate fully in the process. This type of upgrading is very much a council or government decision. They will have planned the city, and decided to make some slums more permanent. Demolition and Relocation Demolition and relocation has, in the past, been an option for governments. However,

most, if not all of these programs failed to increase the quality of life for the subjects and created more problems than it solved. An essay from the Indian Institute of Technology explains that in Mumbai, after independence, the official approach was to clear the slums and re-house the slum-dwellers in alternative accommodation. This approach saw 70,000 people forcibly removed from their slums into ‘Cheetah Camp’, which regrettably, could be compared to the racial purification acts of Nazi Germany. All of this happened in 1976, a mere 6 years after a slum improvement program was started on the slum that provided or improved drainage, water facilities, roads and toilets (Adhikari). This essay also highlighted the damaging effects of slum demolition; a survey was taken of 180 slum-dwellers who had been moved from their demolished slum to Cheetah Camp. It found the most prolific problem cause by the demolition was unemployment. This will have been a result of being moved away from the central business district (CBD) to a place just outside the city, on the periphery (Trombay). By moving away it forces the slum-dwellers to commute at great expense into the city which in some cases has reduced their income by 50% and therefore couldn’t afford the day-to-day living costs. As a result many of these relocated employees have to give up their jobs. For governments it can seem an attractive option to clear slums. They can start afresh on new programs and ‘clean-up’ the city.

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By clearing slums, they often eliminate better communities than they create, and at a huge cost. Squatter evictions have often created more misery than they have prevented. It has been brought to light that forced eviction is as bad a crime as the crimes that are committed in the slums. Berman (1987) describes instances like these as ‘urbicide’. For example, in Zimbabwe, 2005 operation Murambatsvina (‘restore order’) forcibly removed

64,677 families, leaving 700,000 unemployed and affecting 2.4 million countrywide (AP, 2005). These statistics definitely seem to fight in the slumdwellers corner;

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Mugabe, the Mumbai council and many others throughout the history of slum clearing have thought these people to be almost disposable and malleable to the city’s decisions. These figures show how integral slum-dwellers are to the city in providing an economy that not only keeps their low quality of lives above dismal, but also giving jobs to many others. One slum clearance that stands out above the rest is the Rio de Janeiro clearance, where 139,000 people were evicted from 1965-74. Davis (2006) describes it as “… gaining irresistible momentum as land values exploded”. One would hope that the government would plough-back some of the money earned from the land sales into slum-upgrading programs. Temporary housing for the poor One other option for the poor is temporary housing. These temporary structures are often made from local materials such as wood, bamboo and mud and can have a lifespan between a few months and 10 years. They have some but not all of the facilities that permanent housing has such as toilets, showers and kitchens. Sometimes, temporary housing is turned into permanent housing, even though it has a very poor building quality and infrastructure. Local authority housing estates In Slum and Squatter Settlements in SubSaharan Africa (1988), Mhlanga and Obudho describe a study by Charles Blankson which gives a very good insight into the problems that arise with housing estates. The housing estates were built as a reaction to the 1939 earthquake in 6 different places within Ghana. It wasn’t until 1949 that the scheme was implemented, and by this time is had been changed to incorporate housing shortages elsewhere in the country. In the study, it has been recorded in detail about the myriad of physical and spatial problems that these housing estates had. Housing developments built in Accra and Kumasi, Ghana, were so poorly designed that they did little to improve the quality of life, there was no regard for the end-user’s needs. This was because the government felt that they were doing the slum dwellers a favour

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and therefore didn’t commit a lot of time for money into the project.

“One of main problems identified was in the design of the buildings; they didn’t have any relation to the life-styles of the occupants. This could be explained by the absence of any sociospatial studies prior to the design and construction. The blatant disregard for the occupants needs by the housing corporation was probably a tactical admission of their own failure to provide housing to start with.” (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988) The poor design and suitability of the building was mainly due to a lack of input from the inhabitants. Turner (1977), is very much in favour of community participation in this way and states that by communities getting involved with projects, will lead to liveable environments and inspire social well-being. In other words, by putting intellectual effort into projects, the inhabitants are more likely to protect their environment from things such as anti-social behaviour and extreme weather. In Blankson’s study, he found that the residents did indeed leave the building to rot and decay over time. However, this was mainly due to the lack of adequate resources, but maintenance by the residents would have gone a fair way to prolonging the building’s lifespan. What’s the best upgrading type? Slum demolition and/or relocation are counter-productive, it simply shifts the problem somewhere else, and for that reason, it can be argued that it carries least credentials. The sites and services projects are in principal, great ideas. They provide secure tenure to the dweller, which enables and empowers them to upgrade their dwellings to the best of their ability. However, these projects are too expensive for the poorest of the slum-dwellers which accounts for a large portion of the slum population. Upgrading with government assistance, gives the dwellers the tools and the means to upgrade, but hands the power to the government and the sustainability of upgrading is questionable due to the lack of funds.

Upgrading through the help of NGO’s is similar, however, they have the advantage of educated volunteers and charity workers who are very knowledgeable on upgrading and can educate the slum dwellers as well. I think it is very important to make the slumdwellers help themselves, but with help from NGO’s would go far to helping them achieve their aims quicker. For that reason I think that upgrading through self-help and with additional help from NGO’s is a very good way to upgrade. There is a dire need to stop rural-urban immigrants. They often come to the cities due to the government’s imbalance of resources; people in rural areas seem to be more deprived. Before slum upgrading can properly be achieved, there needs to be some emphasis on re-balancing the economic and social scales. Mhlanga (1988) supports this by stating that education should be designed to inform rural dwellers about the truth of town life so that they have a good basis for deciding whether or not to migrate rather than blindly migrating. “The more you invest in cities, the less you are investing in the countryside and you are just perpetuating the problem,” . (D’Monte, 2008) However, the possibility of rural-urban migration ceasing seems highly unlikely. It seems like slums will always be around and upgrading them will be like washing windows on a sky-scraper; once the last one is clean, the first one needs cleaning again. Over time the standard of living could be raised; by upgrading and securing tenure, it converts ‘sweat equity’ (the effort the owner has gone to, to upgrade his home) and materials into capital, which can be taxed. It also is considerably cheaper than demolishing and relocating a slum, which also avoids the loss of jobs in the area, preserves friendship and casual labour networks, keeps residents close to the CBD, and nurtures settlements into mature, integrated communities. (Perlman, 1981) On the other hand for squatters, upgrading implies a loss of freedom. Originally, they paid no rent and had no external controls on land or building use applied on them. With upgrading comes legislation, so squatters

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have to weigh up the advantages of upgrading plans against the costs associated with it. Unlike slum-dwellers who have obtained legal tenure from publicly owned land they don’t have the choice to opt-in or opt-out of a proposed upgrading plan. The squatter community decides as a whole whether to accept or decline (Reinhard, Skinner, Micheal, & Rodell, 1983). However, Obudho and Mhlanga (1988) mention that squatters are more likely to participate in community projects. This tends to be because of the length of time that the settlement has been static for, and some of the settlements have been around since the 1950’s or earlier. Destroying a slum dwelling effectively destroys the potential cash-value of the structure, no matter how much it is worth. As mentioned, it can be upgraded and the owner can release it onto the property market if he wants to, thus benefiting the housing market which is healthy for the economy. Destroying a slum also erases a slum-dwellers life-style and friendship networks. In the short term, the land may look better, and it could be used to build better buildings on it, but it only exaggerates the existing housing problem and shifts it to another part of the city.

5. Nairobi case study

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Colonial History In some ways, the colonial history of Nairobi could have led to the existing housing problem today (although it is likely that slums would have existed through other means anyway). This is because of the style of city that the British built almost from scratch in the early 1900s. As with many colonial style cities, it had a well-built formal core, surrounded by informal settlements. The design resembles the feudal European design of a castle or walled city with the poor beyond its walls (UNHABITAT, 2003). Furthermore, the British denied the native population and rights to own land in the city. Consequently, Kenyans experienced severe restrictions on their movements and their decisions on where to live. “Despite their antipathy to large native, urban settlements, the British were arguably the greatest slum-builders of all time. Their policies in Africa forced the local labour to live in precarious shanty-towns on the

fringes of segmented and restricted cities” (Davis, 2006) Towards the end of the colonial era, money was re-invested into the colonial cities, and infrastructure was improved greatly. This not surprisingly caused a great surge in urban migration, and city planners had to commit to more extensive urban planning. In Nairobi the city was divided into areas separately containing white Europeans, Asians (whose previous and current generation were working on the railway), and Africans. In the fading days of the colony in Kenya, labour strikes began, and the government decided to try and repatriate these workers back to the rural areas. In addition, the government tried to stabilise the growing population and housing problem that was so prolific within Nairobi; so they created lowcost, fully built units for the slum dwellers. Many of these units were turned into slums, as the slum-dwellers (who subsequently

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of housing in Nairobi at this time, and many other Africans were interested in the area. By independence in 1963, the Nubians (numbered about 3000) had built-to-rent lots of accommodation for other Africans (who numbered 6000). By 1974 the LA had changed its policy on urban housing, and allowed many other Africans to live in the area. Not surprisingly, the population grew massively, between 1975 and 1980; the population had grown more than 3 times from 20,000 - 60-65,000 respectively. Now the Nubians have a population estimated at only 15% and the overall population is uncertain, but is likely to be around 1 million. There is so much uncertainty over the population of the slum, which only

emphasises Nairobi City Council’s lack of understanding of the informal settlement. Mike Davis (2006) writes about Kibera being about 800,000, the International Housing Coalition (2007) have estimated more than half a million and UN-Habitat has had several estimates of the population which range between 350,000 and 1 million. More recent reports have suggested the figure to be just over 1 million, in which case this works out at just 37 square feet per person. I think the fact that the population size in unknown shows just how neglected Kibera has become. In support of this view, there is a ‘Map-Kibera’ project currently taking place to put Kibera on the map, on google street maps kibera does not exist at the moment. 17

moved back into their old settlements) sublet them out to new slum-dwellers to obtain extra income (Mhlanga & Obudho, 1988). As a result, new slum policies were formed and the service provisions for the slums were inadequately funded and therefore reduced the quality of life. Post-colonial History After the second world war, political uprising caused pressure on the British, and they decolonised in 1963. They left behind a country whose infrastructure was almost completely centred around exporting goods, with little domestic focus. This weakness of state structures was described by Chazen et al (1988) “scarcity of resources, politicized patterns of social differentiation, over expanded state structures, insufficient state legitimacy, inadequate state power and the lack of adaptation of alien institutions to local conditions.” They had unbalanced urban hierarchies, in which Nairobi was perfectly designed to suit

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the racially segregating desires of the British and not the natives. (Beall and Fox, 2009) This left a city designed for slum-dwelling and low class immigration, it was worsened by the fact that the well-paid politicians and businessmen took over the rich part of the city meant for Europeans, whilst leaving the other parts for lower classes. Having been to the city, one can notice the staggering impact of segregation. The slums appear invisible from most places in the city. There are beggars and streetchildren but no slums. This is explained if you take the train out of the city. The slums hug the railway track just outside the city, as seen in image 17, this is the area where native Africans were allowed: Kibera Slums Kibera’s role in the colonial age of Nairobi was as a residential area for de-mobilised soldiers (known as Nubians) of the Kings African Rifles. There was a drastic shortage

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The standard of living in Kibera is incredibly hard, as mentioned by the residents (pg 21). There are reams and reams of statistics and quantitative data on population growth and other more particular subjects. However, looking in detail at the way an average resident lives, gives qualitative detail which the quantitative data doesn’t. Sanitation: There are various reports of how many people share a toilet, some have suggested up to 1000 per toilet, while others say 10. Often slum dwellers create small-communal toilets which they share; they are sometimes available to many others on a pay-as-you-go system, usually paying about $0.01-$0.03 per time. They are locked up securely after each use to prevent others using the facility. The toilet is a whole in the floor leading to a cesspit below. Every time a cesspit gets filled, a new toilet has to be built, and the previous one is emptied (usually by young boys who take the defecation to the river). Some permanent toilets have been built for communal use in Kibera (funded by NGO’s), however, these toilets do charge $0.03 per time. Architecture of slums Slum dwellings range in size. And often filled to maxicapacity to generincome. Some are ger and advertise themselves as tels’,

vastly are mum ate big‘ho-

while others are tiny, as small as 7’x7’, which are used by a family to cook, eat and sleep. If one looks down on Kibera from above, it looks like a patchwork-quilt of iron and cardboard. Most of the dwellings consist of sloping, corrugated iron roofs to drain any rain water, mud-brick and mudplaster walls which is re-enforced by wattle (very wonky, thin sticks) as studs and supporting beams at the corners of the building. Quite often there are bits of open wall that has been damaged, or by the material coming loose, this is hastily corrected with polythene bags or any other covering material available. For washing-lines, the slum dwellers attach any kind of cord over roads or paths to other dwellings or to a stump. The informal dwellings are generally in compounds with 10 or more oneroom dwellings in each, these compounds have rudimentary fences erected marking a boundary. In Kibera and many other slums, there is a big problem with privacy. As the majority of the dwellings comprise of one room, whole families are forced to share with one another. This means that 5 or more children can be sharing with their parents, and even single, young men can be sharing a bed with each other because of the cramped conditions. Most of the dwellings have a single bed, which two people usually occupy. Lots of slum-dwellers split the interior space in half with a cloth sheet, to divide the sleeping and the cooking area: The same room is used for both depending on the financial status of the family. Slum-dwellers re-define the application of multi-functional space, they adapt and overcome to what they need in order to live. 18

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e , we us , s i o d e y what w t and unluck o s , s t ve toile e out at nigh ody’s human a h t ’ n r o ...We d ight. If you a that’s someb s, that’s g n i s p s n la d are col them out at our head, an erty and stre s e s u o “Our h gs and throw landing on y allenges, pov (BBC, 2005) llers livch ba ra ng m-dwe u paper feel somethi e. It’s full of dent in Kibe l s m si er ll t fro you wi ife is tough h Aloo John, re ment protes ibaki L n K .” r . e i e r e a v t e s w o h a w out They nt M nti-g . b e a e a d f i p l o l s o t a e h r o s nt of P n’t have any BC, what i ems to be a l e m n r e se e do gov d.” (B w e e , h n t e w . There . . o p s . n ibera .right bout u ing hap ing in K one cares a oor people.. re, but noth “No ut p ings befo o b a e h ot car lot of t a s does n u omised r p d a h the ) 5 0 community 20 raise money for birthday parties and social events. On the other hand, it is also explained that in another village within Kibera, neighbours are too busy to see each other, and do not have the same relationship that other compounds share with one another.

For example, a very poor family can be using the same room for cooking and sleeping 8 people in a

12’x12’ or smaller

space. At night the slum will transform into a sleeping space as the furniture is moved aside. The wealthier the family, the more likely these conditions will be improved. (Bodewes, 2005) Structurally, the buildings are built with little or no knowledge of construction thus creating weak structures. Furthermore, the ground on which the dwellings are built usually comprises of rubbish and refuse, as a result, when the slum floods many of these buildings collapse and sometimes damage surrounding buildings. Community Many people living in the slums value relationships immensely, they often make expensive trips seeing relatives living in the country. To that end, a community spirit is a un-tangible asset that Kibera has. In the compounds, this is very strong, even with neighbours with traditionally corrosive ethnic backgrounds. In Parish Transformation in Urban Slums (2005), it is explained that

Relocating Kibera In September 2009, the Kenyan government who technically own the land in Kibera announced that all 1 million people in the slum would be relocated over a 5 year plan (BBC, 2009), which in all likelihood will take much longer than that. Apartment blocks have been built to re-house the evicted slum-dwellers who will now have to pay $10 per month. Doing this will benefit the government by releasing sellable land onto the property market to bring in income, however, it will destroy strong community bonds that have been building up for generations. Due to this fact, 80 members of Kibera have contested the planned demolition: Ibrahim Diaby, a Nubian elder, says improvements should be made to the existing housing in the slum instead. “It’s a question of natural

We’ve lived in Kibera long before Nairobi was Nairobi, long before Kenya was Kenya.” (BBC, 2009).

justice.

Unfortunately, this

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relocation plan seems somewhat reminiscent of Blankson’s study in Ghana mentioned earlier in this essay; not for the fact people don’t want to move from the slums, but more to do with the other problems that were caused by a lack of community participation in the new scheme and the absence of a maintenance program. However, in a video interview with the Kenyan Minister for Housing, Soita Shitanda explains how “...we involved them (the slum-dwellers in Kibera) from the inception of the project...” (NTV Kenya, 2009). Having studied the videos of the new accommodation, the Kenyan news channel had chosen to show footage of a single family living comfortably in a spacious 2 room apartment. In all likelihood, these rooms will be packed with similar if not more people per room compared to the slums. A ‘YouTube’ comments board (where these videos are posted), is full with Kenyans discussing their thoughts on the scheme. Some are pleased that housing has now been accomplished, but many are worried about the maintenance of the building and also the amount of people using the buildings.

“So 3 families with an average of 5 kids will move into one flat. Forget sanitation and security.” (‘njerikaranja’ - YouTube blogger- NTV Kenya, 2009) “I give them a max of 3 years ... to see if they can maintain the houses. (The Govt and the Residents).. they can’t, you don’t build houses that will be used like matatus. good idea but not well thought .” (‘daudiking’ - YouTube blogger - NTV Kenya, 2009) Although these ‘YouTube’ subscribers aren’t exactly reliable sources, their profiles state that they are from Kenya, and they debate with other Kenyans on issues that imply a great wealth of knowledge on the subject.

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ge of 5 a r e v a with an at. Forget s e i l i m “So 3 fa ove into one fl lm urity.” kids wil c e s d n na sanitatio

Summary Although seeming like a better quality of life, the e new governm ment ap parrtments built to re-house slu um-dwellers is too expensive for a large portion of the population living in Kibera. Squatters especially, are used to paying no rent for living, so having to pay Ksh500 per month to live in accommodation may mean that other aspects of their lives are no longer sustainable such as education, healthcare and even nutrition. For the slightly richer slum-dwellers, this type of housing will be a great option, but for the poorest and squatters, they probably will never reside in them. Either because they can’t afford the rent or they might rent in order to sub-let and then move back in to their old informal accommodation. Cramped sleeping conditions, poor sanitation, poor infrastructure, dangerous housing and disease seem to be a few of the problems that living in a slum entails. However, the community and informal economy is so important to people living in the slum and as John Turner puts it;

“Housing as

a verb.”(Turner, 1977). By this, Turner means that housing is experienced by what it does, not what it physically is. The community provides a sense of belonging, while the informal economy provides a small amount of income for people to susta ain a low quality of life. Relocating the slum, although ‘c cleaning’ up the city will clean up the bad with the good.

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“I don’t demand much from my parents because I know it is difficult for them to make ends meet. I want to finish my graduation and become a teacher. I plan on getting married and wouldn’t mind staying in Dharavi.” (Arockia Zena BBC, 2007) 24

6/ MUMBAI Like Kibera, the Indian Government want to clear Dharavi slum which is adjacent to India’s financial heart. It is a difficult decision, the land value is high, and therefore brings in a lot of revenue for the government. They have plans to destroy Dharavi and replace it with high-rise offices, while exporting the slum elsewhere in the city, housed in tower blocks with an even higher population density, meaning that many of the population will once again be homeless and have to squat elsewhere in Mumbai.

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This story is not unusual. As mentioned earlier in this essay, 80 people contested the proposed demolition of Kibera. Although that doesn’t sound like many in a population that has got so out of control, it is hard to count, many of the people in those slums will be pressured not contest the proposals by the same corrupt officials that influence their votes. It is true that some people will want to move away from the slums. Child employment is incredibly high and they often mature before they are supposed to.

Slum Architecture Recently a Channel 4 documentary ‘Slumming It’ (McCloud, 2010) was aired detailing life in the slums. It gave a very good picture of what living in a slum looked like. This documentary has informed me to quite some extent and is referred to regularly in this case-study . Although TV programs are primarily to entertain, Channel 4 can be given more credit as a reliable source as it’s remit from the government is to “foster the new and experimental in television.” (Channel 4, 2001) In Dharavi, on average, their houses are structurally better quality than in Kibera. For the poorest of the poor, they squat on the top of rubbish heaps between toxic pools of sludge and the sewerage pipes. In the monsoon season, this turns into a swamp, and it is rare for the dwellers to dry off. However, for a fair amount of the population, their houses are piled on top of each other - with an extended family occupying a block, with each separate family on a different level. They don’t have a 9-5 routine, their routine is often associated with their work shifts or work patterns. Work is very much combined with everyday living, furthermore they are employed at a very young age and get used to this idea early on. Communal Jobs Although seeming to get paid next to nothing, the annual turnover in Dharavi amounts to $1bn. The slum has an astonishingly

work together, wash together, cook together, eat together, carry out chores together and sleep together. They communicate a tremendous amount, and by doing all these activities together inspire a real sense of camaraderie and community. Redeveloping Dharavi Mukesh Mehta, an American-trained architect has spent 9 years ‘perfecting’ his plan of Dharavi. As the land value of the slum is worth billions (McCloud, 2010) the Indian Government and the Mumbai City Council want to turn it into a complex of offices, green spaces and apartments. The slum dwellers who have been living there for generations will be somewhat sidelined and given a limited amount of new, very basic accommodation. For slum-dwellers who have been living in the slum since 2000 will be eligible for a ground-floor apartment in the new apartments. For those who have lived there after 2000 will be left homeless and will have to find alternative accommodation elsewhere, most likely in a new slum. To give an idea of how much the land is worth, an apartment block has recently been built on the edge of the slum. An apartment which has 3, 8 x 8 ft rooms and 2 toilets is on the market for £90,000. It is a big dilemma for the authorities, with the land values so high, it would really benefit the economy, but it is also likely to destroy the livelihoods and lifestyle of many inhabitants of Dharavi.

employment rate of 85%. The informal economy is so valu-

high

able to the people who contribute to it; the slum dwellers. By destroying this, it would lead to a massive increase in unemployment, as people would have to find new jobs, and would take decades to bring a new slum up to the same level as the current one in Dharavi. Communities Perhaps overlooked by the redevelopers, many of the families have been in Dharavi for years and it is very precious to them. They have often worked amongst the same families for years and much of the daily drudgery is carried out communally. They

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Slums of Hope or Despair: Brief comparison between developed countries and undeveloped. Slum conditions are dire. However, they inspire a sense of community that seems unparalleled anywhere else. They do their washing together in groups (albeit in disease invested water), and sleep in the same room often talking till late into the night (albeit crammed in like sardines). Three generations often live in the same dwelling, and have real bonds between them. This was the same with our own country in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t as extreme, as we had a lower population than India or Kenya have, but families did live near each other, often on the same street, or at least in the same district. Post world-war two, however, we had a massive housing crisis that needed to be solved; many parts of London and indeed northern industrial cities were destroyed in the blitz. Our government decided to build quickly, without much thought. New towns such as Harlow, and Milton Keynes sprang up to house the homeless in prefabricated tower blocks and poorly designed estates. As the Smithson’s 27

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proved in the 1950’s, the ‘streets in the sky’ philosophy, or more like fantasy, did not work very well. They tried to prove that communities could exist in tower blocks, and 50 years later, their building has demands for its destruction. This idea of tower block living seems to have killed off a lot of community spirit in the UK. Years ago, we would rely on our neighbours for things to borrow, rely on our colleagues at work, see each other in town regularly, do our washing together etc. As technology gets better, we have less need to rely on other people. We all have our own washing machines, we work from home, and we shop for our clothes and even groceries on the internet. With Plans for Mumbai seem scarily similar what the UK Government planned 60 years ago and with the advent of technology appearing earlier in the Indian industrial revolution, it seems that India too, may turn into a closed-door society.

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Background: Slum Upgrading Programme commissioned by the Kenyan Minister for Housing Soita Shitanda

7/ Conclusion For both Dharavi and Kibera, their respective Governments and for Kenya - the UN have monumental decisions to make, which I fear, have already been ma ade. We have seen in the past, from Bla ankson’s study in Ghana, and from our own develop ped countries that vertical communities often do not work. Many of the e slum-d dwellers whose communities were unique and special will now w be compacted into high-rise apartment blocks witth lockab ble doors, which will be us sed, thus addin ng isolation to the list of problems tha at slum m-dwelllers face. For so omething so important, it is frusttratin ng that the go overnment app pears to o care e so little about the qua alitty of the urban environmen nt. If urban environment worked well, th he slumdwelllers might be content with h less. Byy building anti-ssocial high-rise apartments, they are just opening Pandora’ss box; it looks liike a good solution and it may improve the image of Mumbai to someone who knows little of the city, but in less than a decade these incredibly densely populated buildings are likely to show the e signs of over-u use and slump into degradation. In the ‘Slumming It’ Channel 4 documentary, the presenter (Kevin McCloud) commented that even thou ugh he had stayed in Dhara avi for 2 weeks, the high-rise low-quality apartments were “...the most depressin ng place I’ve seen here.” (McCloud, 2010) What will happen in the future? The Kenyan government ha as already accomplished some of the upgrading programme in Kibera. But in this plan, it has not accounted for the po oorest and d it is likely that they will set up ca amps elssewhere in Nairobi. The re-housing of all the slum dwellers is going to take a very long time, and it would be good to see other temporary slum upgrading progrrams such as the sittes and services schemes, running in parallel to the more permanent solutions. As one e of the sources suggestted, itt is likely that these new tower blockks will be ill treated and the building life is probably shorter than the government’s predictions.. Therefore e, it iss

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important to encourage the slum-dwellers into the middle-classes through education from an early age, and financial support. For the Indian Govern nment, Dharavi is a real-estate gold min ne; sellling it would rele ease billions of po ounds worth of property onto the market. It would temporarily give Mumbai and Ind dia a better outward im mage, an nd would also remov ve the need to drastically improve the inffrastructural prob blems s of the slum such as proper drainage, sewe e rag ge and waste disposal, which h is s lik kely to cost a lot of money, but visually not changing g the look of the slums much h. Fo or the slu um-dw welle ers, it would destroy a heritage, a co ommunity, a way of living. With what little material possessions they have, they value other people immensely. “F Family makes a massive difference, and means the world to those lucky enough to actually have one” (Ston ne, 2010). Arg guably the most important but intangible asset that would be destroyed is a community spirit; it cannot be replaced or re-engin neered. Fu urthe ermo ore, by placing slum-dwellers in vertical acc commodatio on it inhibits future communiities s from being started again. Destroying Dharavi would also destroy the informal economy, which despitte its rudimentary appearance is integral to the slum, and to mainta aining the lives of many. Recently y, I attended a special screening of Channel 4’s new documentary called ‘Dispatches: Slumdog Children of Mumbai’. There was a discussion afterwards and it was made apparent that many children are forced out on nto the streets by drunken and irresponsible parents, or by y domestic violence. This is a horrrib ble way for a human to start his or her life; wo orking g 18 hourrs a day to mak ke 40 pence at just 8 years old. It worries me that by compressing even more of the population into small apartment blocks this will only make problems like this more prolific and it wouldn’tt seem out of place if there was an increase in street children as a result of the proposed development taking place, which could, in turn, encourage the gang culture that is alread dy a problem in Mumbai.

Foreground: Kibera Slum

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Future Options? I think it is important to put the lives of slumdwellers high on the priority list but from the government’s point of view, lots of money can be released from the sale of the land that could be re-invested into helping the evicted slum-dwellers. However, the likelihood of this happening is uncertain and I am inclined to say that not all of the money from the sales of land will be given back to the slum-dwellers. Either the slum-dwellers are relocated in high-rise apartment blocks with even denser living spaces or proper slum upgrading programmes are implemented such as sites and services schemes. I think the solution lies in the latter but in answer to the government’s issue of selling land - I think another part of the city should be developed near the CBD and be marketed to attract investors to buy property there. Although this is easier said than done, London has done many projects like this; the Docklands area was redeveloped into lots of high-class flats, and Battersea is quickly following in its footsteps. In Mumbai there are quite a lot of woodland and centrally located parks. Although it would be a shame to use up the green spaces, Mumbai has limited options. By developing these areas and attracting investors they could increase the land value in the new area and take the pressure off Dharavi. However, I do understand that this solution would not be seen as an option by the government, who may see the demolition of the slums and building of tower blocks as self-glorification and an opportunity to promote Mumbai’s image in a very classist society. Whatever is done for the slum-dwellers, I agree with Turner that it is vital for secure tenure to be given to them in order that they can be empowered and can therefore selfhelp themselves to create a more permanent structure of network of relationships and employment thus improving their quality of life. To many people, these slum conditions seem abhorrent and they wouldn’t be wrong. However, the good aspects of slums are often overlooked. We place ourselves in the shoes of a slum-dweller, but with our

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society. We picture ourselves in a slum, with our doors shut and scared senseless. They, on the other hand, rely on each other rather than their computers. Taking away a community would be stealing their single most-valuable possession.

“The most important thing about housing is not what it is, but what it does in peoples lives” Turner, J (1977)

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References

Picture Credits

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30. ‘Bob’. 2007. More Traditional Dancing. Retrieved 20 1 2010 from, http://picasaweb.google. co.uk/kenyabob/MountKenyaChallenge?authkey=vKfuYBvlvSk#5115017183722171554 31. ‘@api’ 2009. Community Detailed Plan. Retrieved 22 1 2010 from, http://www.dharavi.org/@api/ deki/files/632/=SP09_04PU_Group06_Mumbai_pg_mk_ny_tz_Page_5.jpg

Appendix

Bibliography

Interview with Becky Stone 16/1/2010, Tom Greenfield - Interviewer Life in a slum: your experience working with slum people

Adhikari, S. Urban Planning and Politics of Slum Demolition in Metropolitan Mumbai. Mumbai: Indian Institue of Technology. AP. (2005, 6 7). Homes ‘smashed’ by Zimbabwe paramilitary police. Retrieved 6 1, 2010, from Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/homes-smashed-by-zimbabwe-paramilitary-police/2005/07/05/1120329447181.html BBC. (2009). Kenya Begins Huge Slum Clearance. Retrieved 14 1, 2010, from BBC News: http:// news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8258417.stm BBC. (2007, 15 8). Life in a Slum. Retrieved 17 1, 2010, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/ shared/spl/hi/world/06/dharavi_slum/html/dharavi_slum_intro.stm BBC. (2005, September). Living amidst the rubbish of Kenya’s slums. Retrieved 5 1, 2010, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4261846.stm Beall and Fox. (2009). Cities and Development. New York: Routledge. Berman, M. (1987, December). Among the Ruins. New Internationalist , pp. 1-3. Berner, E. (1998). Defending a Place in the City. Honolulu: University of Hawaii. Bodewes, C. (2005). Parish Transformation in Urban Slums. Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa. Channel 4. (2001). Channel 4’s Statement of Promises. Retrieved 21 1, 2010, from Channel4.com: http://www.channel4.com/about_c4/promises_2001/promises_intro2.html Chazen, N., Mortimer, R., Ravenhill, J., & Rothchild, D. (1988). Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa. London: Macmillan. Cotton, A. P., & Franceys, R. W. (1988). Urban Infrastructure: Trends, Needs and the Role of Aid. Habitat International , 139-147. Davis, M. (2006). Planet of Slums. London, New York: Verso. de Soto, H. (2001). The Mystery of Capital. London: Black Swan. D’Monte, D. (2008, 26 2). Mumbai’s Slum life Poses World Problem. Retrieved 17 1, 2010, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7265333.stm ILO. (2002). Women and Men in the Informal Economy. Geneva: ILO. International Housing Coalition. (2007). Urban Investments and Rates of Return: Assessing MCC’s Approach to Project Evaluation. Washington D.C: IHC. McCloud, K. (2010, 15 1). Kevin McCloud: Slumming It. (H. Simpson, Interviewer) Mhlanga, C., & Obudho, R. (1988). Slum and Squtter Settlements in sub-Saharan Africa. New York: Praeger. NTV Kenya. (2009). Upgrading Kibera Slums. Retrieved 14 1, 2010, from YouTube: http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=QZWe33fToPo&feature=channel Perlman, J. (1981). Strategies for Squatter Settlements: the state of the Art as of 1977. New York: Praeger. Rakodi, C. (1997). The Urban Challenge in Africa: Growth and Management of its Large Cities. Tokyo: United Nations University Press. Reinhard, R., Skinner, J., Micheal, & Rodell, J. (1983). People, poverty and shelter: problems of self-help housing in the Third World. London: Methuen. Soliman, A. (2004). A Possible Way Out: Formalizing Housing Informality in Egyptian Cities. Lanham: University Press of America. Stone, B. (2010, 6 1). Life in a Slum. (T. Greenfield, Interviewer) Turner, J. (1977). Housing by the People: Towards Autonomy in Building Environments. New York: Pantheon. UN-HABITAT KENSUP. (2008). UN-HABITAT and the Kenya Slum Upgrading Program. Nairobi: UNHABITAT. UNHABITAT. (2003). The Challenge of Slums. London: Earthscan Publications. United Nations Conference on Human Settlements. (1996). Habitat Agenda. Tokyo: United Nations Press. Webster, M. (1913). Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Massachusetts: Marriam-Webster Inc.

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Becky Stone worked for a time with TearFund in Pumwani slum in Nairobi, and lived with them for a few months

1. etc.

TG: Did you feel they were happy? Or was it more dependent on if they had a job, family

BS: They are happy people, but no I don’t think they are happy with their lives in the slum. They are content because they have to be and they make the absolute best of an awful situation. Family makes a massive difference, and means the world to those lucky enough to actually have one. A job makes their lives easier – makes it possible to actually survive - but none of them really have any money at all so I definitely don’t think their happiness is dependent upon this. They are all hoping, striving for and believing that a better future is ahead...I think this ability to hope is often what keeps them going. 2. TG: Did you feel they had resentment towards the government? I.e., even though they were squatting and slumming, did they feel the government was doing enough? BS: I think they definitely feel the government aren’t doing enough. They don’t live there because they choose to, or because they are bad people, or because they are lazy or incapable – they have no choice. Being truly supported and empowered by the government would, I think, make a huge difference. 3.

TG: Was the government too reliant on NGO’s?

BS: I don’t really know about this, except that the government seem to do absolutely nothing for slum dwellers. These people are however the ones who take the brunt of political unrest. There were tribal/political killings going on in the slums all around me when I was there. 4. TG: Why were the people you knew located in that particular slum? Family/jobs/rent? BS: They came to Nairobi seeking work from what I can gather, only to find a lack of jobs and overcrowding, so had to settle there without a choice. Most families have rural homes which they visit once a year if they’re lucky, but they cannot afford to live there. These are often the homes where our generation grew up before having to move to the slums. I think now though that more and more children are being raised in the slums as opposed to the rural homes that have belonged to their families for generations. 5.

TG: Have they been upgraded or had site/services improved? Are there any plans for this?

BS: No, to both questions. 6.

TG: Could they afford some of the upgrade solutions if made available?

BS: Most of my friends there barely have enough money to support their families, so no, I don’t think they could. 7. TG:Have they ever been moved by the council to another slum? BS: Not as far as I am aware. I never heard anything about the council having anything to do with the slums. 8. TG: Did most of them have a job of some sort?

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BS: Not exactly – Most of the people my age were either studying (if they were lucky enough to find sponsorship/support), were volunteering or working for a small wage at the community centre, or were ‘hustling’ as they put it. From what I can tell that basically means selling what they can at the markets, doing favours for people and just doing whatever they can. A few lucky ones had office jobs or jobs as drivers of matatus. Older people sometimes worked on stalls in the market or grocery stores dotted around the slums, or sold roasted maize/chapattis etc by the side of the road, drive taxis, do washing for neighbours, teach in local schools if they were fortunate enough to be properly educated as children and other bits and bobs. Children are at school when they’re lucky but often have to miss years when money runs out/sponsorship stops/there are probably at the school. 9.

TG: Were there many young men earning money for family in the rural areas?

BS: I don’t really know much about the rural areas. 10. TG: Do you know why people immigrated to the city from rural areas? BS: Basically to find work. Obviously, quite a few others had other reasons, but I’d say that was the majority 11. TG: Could you see a possible escape from the slums through hard work? BS: Through hard work yes, but this needs to be backed by support of some sort - a good family/ friends/community centre of sorts, and most importantly money. They need to be empowered - I don’t think it’s possible alone. They are all willing and able, but opportunities are scarce and their first priority is to survive. This often means they have to work to support families and can’t afford to study or train for a shot at a better job. 12. TG: In terms of upgrading options for slum dwellers what do you think would work best? BS: In Pumwani there have been flats built forming an area known as ‘California’. The better off slum dwellers can afford these flats but that is rare and from what I have been told the flats are mainly rented by people from Nairobi, who were never in the slums in the first place. Upgraded housing is just not affordable to the normal people living in Pumwani. In terms of sites and services upgrading; water, sanitation, rubbish disposal and education I think are the most important changes that are needed at this stage. Slum dwellers make the most of their simple houses and manage to maintain them even during heavy rainfall etc. They are a million miles from ideal but certainly serve their purpose. They are considered ‘home’ and people there are experts in how to maintain them and reinforce them as required. They do however have far too few toilets and showers which they share amongst many, many people. Children often just go to the toilet in the streets. There is no means of rubbish disposal – this would make a huge difference to their standard of living. Water supplies are ok in Pumwani with clean pumps at fairly regular points throughout the slum. The children and young people I know who have been fully educated are actively making huge differences to their environment. They help at the community centre and act as role models for younger children. Education for every child is essential for future change in slums. hardship

Total word count: 10, 663

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Slums: of Hope or Despair