Q. 1. What policy & strategy frameworks will recognise & deliver the necessary improvements to the lives of informal settlers?

March 24, 2017

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Moderators:

  • Claudio Torres Slum Upgrading Consultant, Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch. UN-Habitat
  • Pireh Otieno Human Settlements Officer, Urban Basic Services Branch - UN-Habitat
  • Kulwant Singh Regional Advisor - UN-Habitat
  • Marcus Mayr Urban Planner, Climate Change Planning Unit, UN-Habitat
  • Edmundo Werna Head of Unit at Sectoral Policies Dept. ILO

Q. 1. What policy & strategy frameworks will recognise & deliver the necessary improvements to the lives of informal settlers?

Question 1: What are the policy and strategy frameworks that will recognise and deliver the necessary improvements to the lives of informal settlers for the attainment of sustainable neighbourhoods, cities and towns?

Please share your ideas and/or examples below.

Laura Hildebrandt Policy Specialist, UNDP RIO+ Centre from Brazil
Thu, April 7, 2016 at 08.29 pm

Hello everyone, 

Here is an excellent recent review by ODI of 4 slum upgrading projects that are considered good practices and which I found very helpful: http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinio….  

These are the policy recommendations based on their review of programme evaluations literature and interviews with stakeholders:   

Do:

  1. ensure community participation in slum upgrading and work in partnership, fostering collaboration between stakeholders; 
  2. focus on both tenure and access to basic infrastructure (including pragmatic approaches to the former); 
  3. build flexibility in the design and implementation of slum upgrading programmes to account for different communities’ specific needs, including the poorest; 
  4. provide a city-wide framework policy to enable ‘scale’ with local-level implementation since each settlement may face differing circumstances; 
  5. have a lead agency with a clear mandate that can run the programme and coordinate the work of other government agencies and actors; 
  6. in addition to slum upgrading, plan for urban expansion and provide affordable housing; in cities where more than half of the population lives in slums, city upgrading rather than slum upgrading is required.

Don’t:

  1. evict slum dwellers; fear of eviction and insecure tenure increases poor communities’ vulnerability and prevents them from making improvements to housing and basic infrastructure; 
  2. relocate them to cheaper land far away from job opportunities; it does not improve the well-being of the urban poor; 
  3. provide poor quality materials and infrastructure; these can undermine the confidence of the community; 
  4. operate in silos (different departments of government need to work together for coherent implementation e.g. access to utilities plus financing for housing); 
  5. while communities may be able to upgrade on their own, don’t avoid supplementing this by connections to citywide infrastructure; 
  6. try to stop rural–urban migration (while improvements in rural development and agricultural productivity in poor countries are needed, efforts to restrict rural–urban migration do not work; migration flows will continue).
A few of the other findings I found interesting were that efforts to provide secure land titles were more difficult than anticipated and the programmes fell short on these targets. In cases where the programmes were highly praised for their particpatory approaches and inclusion of community dwellers, there were not sufficient efforts made to build skills and capacity to enable their effective participation and longer term sustainable involvement. 
Javier Bleda CEO Bleda.es Construcción Ultra Social Internacional from Spain
Wed, April 6, 2016 at 11.54 am

Los cuatro problemas principales para la solución de los asentamientos informales son: 1-La Corrupción. Esteproblema es el más difícil de erradicar porque todos los gobiernos (sin excepción) quieren solucionar el problema de la vivienda, pero al mismo tiempo pretenden hacerse millonarios con ello. 

2-  Suelo urbanizado a disposición de la población. Es realmente sencillo para las autoridades poner suelo urbanizado a disposición de la población (suponiendo que las autoridades realmente quieran solucionar el problema de los asentamientos).

3- Precios de las viviendas realistas y adaptados al sector informal. Este punto es muy importante. La población puede pagar viviendas si los precios están ajustados a sus posibilidades reales, pero la mayoría de empresas privadas se enfocan en la clase media y alta, olvidando el enorme potencial de negocio que representa el sector informal.

4- Formas de pago realistas y adaptadas al sector informal. Aunque los precios de las viviendas estén al alcance de la población, una forma de pago adaptada es fundamental para cerrar el círculo. La población del sector informal es capaz de pagar sus viviendas sin ningún problema, pero son necesarios plazos asumibles y la no obligatoriedad de  introducirse en un circuito bancario (público o privado) donde la usura es la norma, con unos plazos, intereses y unas demandas de garantías imposibles para una población en modo supervivencia.

The four main problems for the solution of informal settlements are:

1- Corruption. This problem is the most difficult to eradicate because all governments  (without exception) want to solve the housing problem, but at the same time seek to become millionaires with it.

2- Urbanized land available to the population. It is really easy for authorities put urbanized land available to the population (assuming that the authorities really want to solve the problem of settlements).

3- Prices realistic and adapted to the informal sector. This point is very important. The population can afford homes if prices are adjusted to their real possibilities, but most private companies focus on the middle and upper class, forgetting the huge business potential that the informal sector represents.

4- Forms of payment realistic and adapted to the informal sector. Although housing prices are affordable for the population, adapted a form of payment is essential to close the circle. The population of the informal sector is able to pay their homes without any problems, but are necessary assumable deadlines and no requirement to enter a bank circuit (public or private) where usury is the norm, with deadlines, interest and some guarantees demands impossible for a population in survival mode.

* I hope you understand my text, this is an automatic translation.

Arq. Jesus A Alfonso Vargas Gonzalez. Instituto Estatal de Urbanismo
Tue, April 5, 2016 at 08.29 pm

Arquitecto: Enrique Urueta Gándara

COMO ROMPER UN PARADIGMA PARA LOGRAR UN OBJETIVO

                                                     Dame vivienda para hacer dinero

                                                     Dame dinero para hacer vivienda

Debemos estar concientes que para lograr un cambio en la forma de enfrentar la problemática de cómo hacer vivienda se lograra en el momento que cambiemos  la idea centralista de los gobiernos, que por lo general se convierten en facilitadores de un esquema que los convierte en simples proveedores de recursos para la consecución de esta, y es donde el desarrollador particular de el programa aplica el primer enunciado que señalamos en el inicio de nuestra intervención, y mientras no obliguemos a los gobiernos a crear un esquema propicio que reconozca que las persona tienen la capacidad de realizar dichas acciones, seguiremos predicando en el desierto, ya que el principal interlocutor esta ausente, y   nunca lograremos que se aplique el segundo enunciado, que al menos en palabras rompe el paradigma de la forma de enfrentar el problema de la vivienda,(que estamos ciertosque no existe en el mundo ningún país que pueda solucionarlo por falta de recursos económicos).

Para reforzar lo anteriormente expuesto y que nos ayude para sensibilizar a los gobiernos en nuestra propuesta, tenemos que realizar un análisis de la forma en que: cuando se realizan los programas de tipo social, se cae en errores que son repetitivos, a pesar que la experiencia en base a los resultados finales las cuales siempre por lo general son desastrosos con sus raras excepciones, y estos son por citar algunos de los programas más conocidos,

Parque de materiales: resultan un fracaso porque a la gente se le entrega el material en porciones, lo cual al final resulta que entre entrega y entrega de este, en puro traslado se encarece el producto final que es la vivienda entre 6 y 8 veces más, y eso sin tomar en cuenta el precio de el tiempo de el supuesto beneficiado.

Entrega total de el material: aquí se da el fenómeno de que si no se ponen candados para que sea utilizado este, como sus necesidades son infinitas termina vendiéndolo y por ende no se logra el objetivo.

Autoconstrucción: este esquema tiene la desventaja de que se tendrían que tenor los conocimientos totales de construcción, albañilería, instalaciones, acabados, etc., y no hay persona en el mundo que los tenga, aquí es donde se hace una variante al menos en nuestro país, la cual se llama autoconstrucción dirigida, la cual se maneja a través de las diferentes dependencias encargadas de la vivienda, pero es tan raquítico dicho programa que de aproximadamente 20 asociaciones civiles certificadas por estas dependencias, lograron hacer en todo un sexenio entre 600 y 700 ampliaciones de viviendas, y esto para un país que requiere de aproximadamente de 1,000,000.00 de viviendas anuales no es muy loable., lo cual vuelvo a insistir se tiene que cambiar la forma de pensar y actuar de nuestros gobiernos.

Una posible solución:

Casi siempre se concluye con una aportación teórica que por supuesto es valida, pero por lo general se da esto porque no interrelacionamos el aspecto económico, con el financiero y a su vez desconocemos el aspecto técnico para llegar a concretar una propuesta real, y aquí me voy a permitir esbozar una experiencia personal la cual llego a realizarse en su totalidad, ya que pude conjugar: Gobierno, financiero, económico, técnico y social.

Fue el concretar en 1994 un conjunto habitacional en Mazatlán Sinaloa México, que tenia más de 20 años abandonado, y los derechohabientes sin saber que hacer y se logro plenamente el objetivo, después vino en 1999 otra oportunidad ya que el banco mundial había dado recursos  a diferente países de America Latina para la realización de pies de casa, los cuales fueron 50,000 y casi logro realizarlas ya que involucre a proveedores a nivel nacional, lo que enriquecía enormemente en superficie las viviendas, porque se estaban adquiriendo los materiales en promedio a mitad de precio de mercado, no se dio porque era año de elecciones y esto hace que  se olvide todo, y es aquí donde pongo a su disposición dos cosas, mi experiencia y la herramienta de trabajo para lo técnico que consiste en los 5 elementos que constituyen a una vivienda y que son: cimentación, castillos, muros, cerramientos y losa, que es con lo que construí el conjunto mencionado en renglones anteriores, y son inventos patentados de mi autoria y ganadores de el Concurso de Tecnologías Para la Vivienda de Interés Social en 1993.(201 consorcios concursaron), y lo más importante no se necesitan conocimientos de albañilería y da la oportunidad de una verdadera autoconstrucción, subiré en fecha posterior dos prototipos de vivienda con los planos, números generadores, precios unitarios de todos y cada uno de los elementos que lo constituyen, por  si alguien esta interesado en su aplicación o como consulta, lo puede hacer consultando en unos 10 días, la pagina Web www.imaiin.com.mx Referecias meki1988@hotmail.com

Arq. Jesus A Alfonso Vargas Gonzalez. Instituto Estatal de Urbanismo
Tue, April 5, 2016 at 08.29 pm

Arquitecto: Enrique Urueta Gándara

COMO ROMPER UN PARADIGMA PARA LOGRAR UN OBJETIVO

                                                     Dame vivienda para hacer dinero

                                                     Dame dinero para hacer vivienda

Debemos estar concientes que para lograr un cambio en la forma de enfrentar la problemática de cómo hacer vivienda se lograra en el momento que cambiemos  la idea centralista de los gobiernos, que por lo general se convierten en facilitadores de un esquema que los convierte en simples proveedores de recursos para la consecución de esta, y es donde el desarrollador particular de el programa aplica el primer enunciado que señalamos en el inicio de nuestra intervención, y mientras no obliguemos a los gobiernos a crear un esquema propicio que reconozca que las persona tienen la capacidad de realizar dichas acciones, seguiremos predicando en el desierto, ya que el principal interlocutor esta ausente, y   nunca lograremos que se aplique el segundo enunciado, que al menos en palabras rompe el paradigma de la forma de enfrentar el problema de la vivienda,(que estamos ciertosque no existe en el mundo ningún país que pueda solucionarlo por falta de recursos económicos).

Para reforzar lo anteriormente expuesto y que nos ayude para sensibilizar a los gobiernos en nuestra propuesta, tenemos que realizar un análisis de la forma en que: cuando se realizan los programas de tipo social, se cae en errores que son repetitivos, a pesar que la experiencia en base a los resultados finales las cuales siempre por lo general son desastrosos con sus raras excepciones, y estos son por citar algunos de los programas más conocidos,

Parque de materiales: resultan un fracaso porque a la gente se le entrega el material en porciones, lo cual al final resulta que entre entrega y entrega de este, en puro traslado se encarece el producto final que es la vivienda entre 6 y 8 veces más, y eso sin tomar en cuenta el precio de el tiempo de el supuesto beneficiado.

Entrega total de el material: aquí se da el fenómeno de que si no se ponen candados para que sea utilizado este, como sus necesidades son infinitas termina vendiéndolo y por ende no se logra el objetivo.

Autoconstrucción: este esquema tiene la desventaja de que se tendrían que tenor los conocimientos totales de construcción, albañilería, instalaciones, acabados, etc., y no hay persona en el mundo que los tenga, aquí es donde se hace una variante al menos en nuestro país, la cual se llama autoconstrucción dirigida, la cual se maneja a través de las diferentes dependencias encargadas de la vivienda, pero es tan raquítico dicho programa que de aproximadamente 20 asociaciones civiles certificadas por estas dependencias, lograron hacer en todo un sexenio entre 600 y 700 ampliaciones de viviendas, y esto para un país que requiere de aproximadamente de 1,000,000.00 de viviendas anuales no es muy loable., lo cual vuelvo a insistir se tiene que cambiar la forma de pensar y actuar de nuestros gobiernos.

Una posible solución:

Casi siempre se concluye con una aportación teórica que por supuesto es valida, pero por lo general se da esto porque no interrelacionamos el aspecto económico, con el financiero y a su vez desconocemos el aspecto técnico para llegar a concretar una propuesta real, y aquí me voy a permitir esbozar una experiencia personal la cual llego a realizarse en su totalidad, ya que pude conjugar: Gobierno, financiero, económico, técnico y social.

Fue el concretar en 1994 un conjunto habitacional en Mazatlán Sinaloa México, que tenia más de 20 años abandonado, y los derechohabientes sin saber que hacer y se logro plenamente el objetivo, después vino en 1999 otra oportunidad ya que el banco mundial había dado recursos  a diferente países de America Latina para la realización de pies de casa, los cuales fueron 50,000 y casi logro realizarlas ya que involucre a proveedores a nivel nacional, lo que enriquecía enormemente en superficie las viviendas, porque se estaban adquiriendo los materiales en promedio a mitad de precio de mercado, no se dio porque era año de elecciones y esto hace que  se olvide todo, y es aquí donde pongo a su disposición dos cosas, mi experiencia y la herramienta de trabajo para lo técnico que consiste en los 5 elementos que constituyen a una vivienda y que son: cimentación, castillos, muros, cerramientos y losa, que es con lo que construí el conjunto mencionado en renglones anteriores, y son inventos patentados de mi autoria y ganadores de el Concurso de Tecnologías Para la Vivienda de Interés Social en 1993.(201 consorcios concursaron), y lo más importante no se necesitan conocimientos de albañilería y da la oportunidad de una verdadera autoconstrucción, subiré en fecha posterior dos prototipos de vivienda con los planos, números generadores, precios unitarios de todos y cada uno de los elementos que lo constituyen, por  si alguien esta interesado en su aplicación o como consulta, lo puede hacer consultando en unos 10 días, la pagina Web www.imaiin.com.mx Referecias meki1988@hotmail.com

Instituto Estatal de Urbanismo
Tue, April 5, 2016 at 05.52 pm

Enrique Urueta Gándara

Para poder tratar de definir mi intervención, me apoyo en lo que considero que debe de ser el inicio de el porque surgen los asentamientos irregulares, y como conclusión o, recomendación en experiencias vividas personalmente y algunas investigaciones sobre el tema pero en escenarios no propios, tratare de enumerar los pasos que desde mi óptica, considero son vitales para llegar a conclusiones que nos puedan ser útiles.

1.- Haciendo una retrospectiva para ubicar el origen de el fenómeno de los asentamientos irregulares, nos damos cuenta que es un fenómeno que se da desde el inicio de la humanidad,

y logra acelerarse en gran medida al nacer la revolución industrial, ya que al surgir los focos de atracción nace la necesidad de tener un espacio donde vivir, (que dicho sea de paso es un derecho de todo ser humano asentado en las constituciones de casi todos los países), a través de los años podemos cotejar que entre más atractivo sea el punto de concentración más asentamientos irregulares se gestan, y a grandes rasgos y desde el siglo XVIII, se crea una constante que varia de entre el 25 y el 35% de familias  en dichos asentamientos, las cuales conllevan una característica muy propia de ellos, la cual consiste en que en toda su vida a pesar de los esfuerzos personales y de los gobiernos, no se llega a conjugar el propósito original que es el de dotarlos de terreno y vivienda, ya que no hay país en el mundo, que tenga los recursos suficientes para lograr dicho propósito, y aquí es donde hay que unir estrategias de diferente índole pues la problemática es muy compleja, ya que se necesitan estrategias de tipo: Social, Financiera, Técnica entre otras, y conjuntar la logística que nos garantice un éxito que es casi imposible, pero ese casi imposible, se debe intentar porque es la esencia de su valor, y aquí me permitiré solo esbozar algunas de las ideas que como digo al inicio de mi intervención unas son vivencias, y otras son producto de la investigación de dicho suceso que acontece en los diferentes países.

1.- Iniciar con las recomendaciones  que nos sugiere Hernando de Soto en su libro Los Misterios de el Capital, las cuales consisten en comenzar con regularizar los asentamientos irregulares, de los cuales nombrare solo dos de los beneficios que esto conlleva, ya que se necesita escudriñar y leer muy acuisiosamente dicho libro para poder sustentar las hipótesis ó, teorías que se plateen al respecto, al regularizar un terreno la persona se vuelve sujeto de crédito y le facilita el poder construir su vivienda, sus escrituras le dan la seguridad de que su inversión esta garantizada y lo más esencial deja de ser un delincuente. (Hace 9 años en el estado de Chihuahua México logramos que se emitiera esta ley, y hasta el logro de que para regularizar escrituras el gobiernos federal apoyo a los colonos con el costo de estas).

P.D. Dicho sea de paso que según informes de Cepal, cientos de municipios han adoptado esta estrategia.

2.- Un fenómeno que en los estudios de estos asentamientos casi siempre pasa desapercibido independientemente de incomodidad, insalubridad etc., es el de el costo de vivir en ellos, y aquí me voy a apoyar en un estudio que realizamos en 1968 en la Ciudad de México, el cual consistió en la investigación de el costo de la vida en Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl, y los resultados fueron los siguientes: se realizo el comparativo de precios que existían en la Zona Rosa, (el área más cara de la ciudad en ese momento). Resultado: salio 4 veces más caro vivir en Ciudad Netzahualcoyotl, Causa: el frijol costaba 5 veces más, el maíz 6 veces más, el adquirir el agua en barricas etc., pero esto  les da una buena lección a sus moradores, la segunda generación difícilmente invaden terrenos y por ende no se crean asentamientos irregulares.

3.- Esta plenamente comprobado que a el gobierno de cualquier parte de el mundo, le sale de 6 a 15 veces más caro el introducir los servicios a dichos asentamientos, ya que el desorden que existe en ellos con respecto a planificación los encarece con el solo hecho de que no es igual el planear  un asentamiento regular que estos, porque en una asentamiento planificado, se pueden calcular: tipo de suelo, ubicación, materiales, tiempos etc.

4.- En lo financiero si no se toman en cuenta los colaterales que estos asentamientos crean por su forma de vivir, es difícil el implementar estrategias que puedan resultar exitosas, ya que cuando se maneja un x programa no se toma en cuenta la contaminación ambiental que estos provocan, primero por la falta de servicios, ya que sus necesidades corporales las realizan a la intemperie, segundo el confort lo mitigan como pueden si es por frío encienden lo que tengan a la mano sin importar la contaminación, si es calor se utilizan aparatos costosos para mitigarlo, lo cual trae como consecuencia, gasto de energía que a su vez por ser producida con hidrocarburos se provoca contaminación,  el costo de la incidencia de enfermedades en dichos lugares por las carencias de todo tipo, costo de estas mismas al fallar a su centro de trabajo, y así sucesivamente, y si sumamos todos estos factores tendremos un estudio que tal vez en algunos casos, regularizar un terreno y darle servicios, sea la mitad de el costo o, más de el que producen las deficiencias asentadas en renglones anteriores, y si a eso le aumentamos que al no producir contaminación tenemos un favor extra que es la producción de bonos de carbono, lo cual nos dara como resultado un programa más eficiente de regularización de estos asentamientos.

4.- Factor tecnológico: este punto e vital ya que se intentan diferentes formas de dotar de casas a los moradores de dichos asentamientos, entre otras estrategias es la de los parque de materiales, (fallida porque se encarece de 6 a 8 veces la construcción, ya que los supuestamente beneficiados recogen estos en partes y además en la mayoría de los casos no los utilizan los venden,) autoconstrucción: otro fracaso pues si no es dirigida no funciona, y mientras la forma de aplicarla sea en forma vertical es imposible debe de ser en forma horizontal la estrategia, y así se evita la tramitología burocrática que es lo que lo mata, y se debe tener un sistema constructivo que no quiera de conocimientos profundos, (el cual contamos con el) solo quiero hacer la conclusión, ó, mejor la observación de que ya hemos aplicado todo lo aquí relatado con éxito pero sin continuidad ya que el gobierno se vive cambiando reglas y es más desgastante esto que realizar la obra.

Loretta PhD Student from South Africa
Mon, April 4, 2016 at 03.27 pm

The issue of informal settlements is central to sustainable urban development. It is in this context that such a convoluting developmental challenge needs policy and strategy frameworks that seek to address the root cause of the problem, rather than merely tackling only the symptoms. From this discourse, there is need for in-depth research into the dynamics underpinning the growth of informal settlements. However, since it is widely accepted that urbanization is the driving force behind the growth of informal settlements, as people migrate into urban landscapes for greener pastures. This brings us to the concept of “exclusionary urbanization”, which is a function of another concept of “coloniality”. To avoid misconceptions, “coloniality” must not be confused with “colonialism”. From a developing countries’ viewpoint, informal settlements are a resultant of the “colonial power matrices” that are envisaged in the urban planning and development trajectories. From this background, it calls for both retrospective and introspective approaches to re-formulating urban policy that is not exclusionary in nature. Focusing on the utilitarian capabilities of developing countries and disembarking urban planning from “the coloniality power matrices”. As far as the developing countries are concerned, urban planning has since been influenced by the “colonial power matrices” viz-a-vis, after obtaining liberty from colonial rule, developing countries did not do much to restructure the urban planning approaches that were used during the colonial era-which were exclusionary in nature. What did the developing countries do after independence? They just continued with the same planning trajectories, thus informal settlements keep on proliferating. Therefore, there is need for more research into the urban planning approaches utilised by developing countries, of-which the results will then influence and improve urban policy and strategy. That will enable us to control urban growth by avoiding the sprouting of more informal settlements.

Mariangela Veronesi from United Kingdom
Sun, April 3, 2016 at 02.16 pm

 Security of tenure is key in ensuring quality of life and the hope of long term improvements for informal settlements. The case of the the Puerto Rican Caño Martín Peña Community Land Trust project is a great and innovative example of how the CLT model can be used in the context of informal settlements to guarantee that the land on which communities are settled can be held in perpetuity for the benefit of its residents. This can allow long term improvement of the area and progressive regularisation of households and upgrading. More details here: http://worldhabitatawards.org/winners-and-finalists/project-details.cfm?lang=00&theProjectID=D195A6BE-D4AE-52C7-704921754734A1A2

Nonetheless, many countries have no legal framework for CLTs to this date, or policies supporting the setting up of CLTs. If these were to be developed, and that groups were helped to set up CLT, this could make a very significant impact on improving the lives of thousands of informal settlers.

Nina Ilieva from Bulgaria
Mon, April 4, 2016 at 04.48 am

HI Mariangela,

Do  you  have more information  abou te CLT (a model of home ownership that develops and manages affordable housing on behalf of the community.?Similar  models in the past , were not  that  successfu  in  our  country mainly because  an organization  of land distribution very  often  becomes corrupted  if  it is not  hghly  monitored, which  is very  common  in  less developed  countries…,

Nina Ilieva from Bulgaria
Sun, April 3, 2016 at 02.33 am

Hallo  everybody,

I  wuold like to  share our  experience about  informal settlements in  Europe.

Today one of the biggest challenge Europe has to face after its enlargement, is the poor socio-economic conditions of the Romani people, which is unacceptable at the beginning of the 21st century. According  to  the recent statistics they are around  10 000 million  people currently spread all over  Europe,  but  predominantly  in  South-Eastern part  of the continent. Their camps and ghettos are in the cities all over Europe such as: Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Belgrade (Serbia), but the largest are in Romania and Bulgaria.

  Now the whole European Union has to face and solve problems, which before were mainly restricted to few countries in Central and South Eastern Europe. One of these issues is related to Romani inequality and integration, and have brought recent intense discussions, as well as new actions and programs across the continent. The “EU Framework for National Integration Strategies up to 20201, (EU Commission 2011Brussels COM (2011) 173) outlines the main strategies of the EU Commission for integrating the Romani people across Europe, on national and international level. The interdisciplinary, holistic approach, involving Romani NGO’s, local residents, and government officials, should cover 4 crucial areas: education, employment healthcare and housing.New architectural and urban approaches, where the public participations is a driving force, and cross disciplinary teams important,   are essential for achieving this holistic approach.

Our project proposes sustainable improvements of these settlements, using more holistic and systematic approach than currently exist. While in the past  primary  responsibilities lies in the public authorities, we are looking  at  the challenge, that  the social  and economic integration  requires  change of  mindset of the majority  of people, as well as active involvement of the Roma communities, where public participation, and cross disciplinary teams are the driving force followin  the ‘EU Framework for NATIONAL INTEGRATION STRATEGIES  2020

Agustín Algorta DIRECTOR SOCIAL from Chile
Fri, April 1, 2016 at 10.40 pm

Hello everyone! ​In the hope of contribut​ing to ​this debate I am sharing our experience working in Latin America with hundreds of communities ​based in informal settlements (TECHO  – www.techo.org):

Latin America is the most unequal region in the world and most urbanized region of the global south. This reality ​ and possibly the combination​  has serious consequences ​ and implications; articularly fragmentation, segregation and social exclusion. 

​Our region is far from being the poorest in terms of resources  but ​it is ​​clearly very  unjust. Currently, 113 million people, a quarter of the urban population live in informal settlements in the region.

If we want sustainable neighbourhoods, cities and towns, the first thing we have to do is to involve slum dwellers in the discussion​ and the problem-solving process.​

​Informal settlements might be better known for their lack of access to basic human rights and services, but they are also places that exude capabilities and ideas ​to generate constructive, inclusive and just solutions on a local an regional level. That is why policy making must be conceived incluiding this communities and reinforcing their organization.

​On the other hand, it has been evident that solutions don’t necesarily revolve around housing, but through the inclusion of these informal communities in the areas in which they are settled, facilitating acces to basic services, transport, education, health and safety. The issue of tenancy can’t be reinforeced enough. It is KEY.

​Having said all this, it is still necessary to look into the reasons why this has happened: how and why were these informal settlements formed? In order to do that the public sector must look at this as a human rights issue and not as an economic  or property difficulty. Furthermore the public sector must generate mechanisms that level the playing field for everyone and o not encourage social segregation. We suggest looking into tools like the social function of property, progressive taxes on unused land and returns on housing market margins.

​Another sensible and important subject is the general lack of information regarding informal settlements. We don’t know their history, compisition, demographics, problems, challenges, good practices, etc. If we want to move forward in the creation of policies that are effective to these communities we MUST have accurate information. This information can and sometimes is gathered by the public sector, or it can be generated through joint efforts with the not-for-profit sector.

We would like to take this oportunitiy to share a statement constructed by 85 community leaders from 18 Latin American countries this past May (2015) in Mexico as part of our II Encounter for Latin American Informal Settlements Community Leaders.

civil engineer from South Africa
Fri, April 1, 2016 at 01.53 pm

The question  should be, whether policy and strategy deliver on the deliverables. I belief there should be an engagement, without any bias, that show a willingness to engage. 

Policy and strategy does not deliver, people does. Yes, it guides us, but we need to be committed to the transformation process ourselves. 

Viviane Manzione Rubio Arquiteta e urbanista – Professor Assistente I da faculdade de arquitetura from Brazil
Wed, March 30, 2016 at 02.52 pm

The programs for favelas upgrading in Brazil were from the 1990s important contribution of BID resources. After the enactment of the Estatuto da Cidade in 2001, the law that regulates the chapters on housing and urban policies of the 1988 Federal Constitution, local governments gained autonomy to seek resources for its projects within and outside the country.
In 2007 the Federal Government going to invest in this type of intervention in several municipalities. Since then, important progress was made in order to adapt and integrate these territories in Brazilian cities.
But since 2010 there has been a setback and an expansion of these settlements in the country even recorded by the IBGE verified by numbers CENSO 2010. Another issue is the degradation of spaces and buildings built with PAC resources.
One of the answers to these questions may lie in the lack of integration of municipal bodies that still resist absorbing the territories transformed with part of the city to be maintained as well as the delay of the inclusion of the city planning agenda.

SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING
Tue, March 29, 2016 at 11.03 pm

In the national housing policy the focus is on partnerships between communities and the government. But, writes Tavener-Smith, in Stellenbosch there is strategic tardiness to implement the new policies and promises are still made for political gain

Solomon Ambwere Kaunda “Director, Urban Planner” from Kenya
Tue, March 29, 2016 at 07.26 am

Thanks for this dialogue and am happy to be part of it and here are my comments.

The issue of informal settlements in Kenya is a very big issue. almost all upcoming towns have a semblance of informality. Reason being atributed to greed for money, greed for space and land speculation at individual level. At the institutional level we can attribute this to failed public policy implementation, corruption or collution, lack of planning and development control, poor budgets for policing the built environment and clearly a lack of planning culture and aesthetics.

The informal settlements and Slums can only be addressed when issues of ownership of land are addressed. These issues are mainly in poor governance structures and accountability, the political climate and poor implimentation of plans. My recommendation for sustainable neighbourhoods in Africa lies in educating the communities and beneficiaries, provide tenure and support them providing a housing solution for them complete with good sanitation, water and roads. we should stop the culture of building them houses, giving them money or promoting settlement by grabbing for political gain.

In Kenya through a project of slum upgrading in Korogocho we were able to plan with the Landlords (structure Owners), Tenants, speculators  and government officials. we have been able to realize a plan, identified beneficiaries through negotiated agreements and we are now surveying including issuing of  ownership documents. openning of roads is going on through voluntary donation of space as per the plan, drainage upgrading etc.

Bamenda City Council
Mon, March 28, 2016 at 01.05 am

 We should be looking at policies that are  targeted at ensuring an enabling environment that guarantees they have acees to basic facilities. This does not mean giving them money but seeing that they have safe utilities like potable Water acess to  Health care. and others. When you have an informal sectoor that is healthy, they will contribute positively to the urban economy and will gradually move from informal to formal sector. There is equally one other aspect that we need look at which is our tax systems.  It should be designed in such a way that there should be tax moratorium on their activities so that they generate enough incomes to improve on their initiatives and expand to limits that can attract formal taxes.  To this I equally agree that qualititive and reliable data is an asset to this policy approach

Norman Mapela Principal representative Economic and Social Development Practitioner from South Africa
Sat, March 26, 2016 at 08.10 am

The policy for effect and efficient control of mushrooming settlements is by a fair and equitable infux control

Thabo Nziweni Space planner from South Africa
Sat, March 26, 2016 at 07.04 pm

I hope such a policy never sees the light of day. It’s pretty obvious that it would be directed at the people that create the mushrooming settlements, whilst those who come to create and live in golf estates would be given unlimited access to cities because they are regarded as job creators and such. I don’t see how this could be fair and equitable.

Emmanuel Nkambule Architect & Lecturer in Architectural Design from South Africa
Sat, March 26, 2016 at 08.24 pm

Please expand sir, I am interested to hear what policies you propose.

Thabo Nziweni Space planner from South Africa
Sun, March 27, 2016 at 08.20 am

Hi Emmanuel

I hope the fact that I don’t have policies to propose does not preclude me from commenting on proposals! The South African government has a National Upgrading Support Programme and the idea of upgrading informal settlements is nothing new. I think there’s just not enough enthusiasm for this because, I think, there is always a lingering hope that government provision will eventually catch up with demand, and this is not just in SA. Another challenge to upgrading is the provision model which migh,t to some degree, have created an expectation. The challenge would be selling the idea of upgrading to communities that currently live in informal settlements, they could argue: if others had been provided with houses, why should we have to settle for less? I know upgrading is not seen as a final solution but a short term solution. But I’m not clear as to short term until when, until the government provision catches up with demand? until the economic conditions are such that people can get jobs and be able to obtain ‘acceptable’ housing on their own? or when their individual circumstances change to an extent that they are able to move up on the economic ladder. All of these scenarios are premised on the hope that these things could actually happen.

Emmanuel Nkambule Architect & Lecturer in Architectural Design from South Africa
Sun, March 27, 2016 at 07.23 pm

Thank you Thabo

Your questions are relevant and petinent, especially if we are really serious about getting solutions for the ugly picture of inequality in our nations. It is true that we have created an expectation, which we must now admit and be honest about it. Should this ‘housing’ expectation be changed? If yes, by who? Perhaps you have hit the nail on the head with the questions you are asking. People, especially those we label as poor, should not be in the mercy of the State. You are raising a valid point here.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Mon, March 28, 2016 at 11.27 am

I am following the discussion with keen interest especially the issue of housing expectation. Perhaps the South African context differs from other countries in that housing is one of socio economic rights entrenched in the Constitution. This happening in a situation where the market could not guarantee provision of shelter to vulnerable groups in society .. Also seeking to undo the ugly impact of the apartheid planning system.

My question though is whether in deconstitutionalising the basic human right of access to adequate housing by all will eradicate informal settlements in cities, towns and villages? Surely, not.

Will caring governments fold their arms or continue to play a referee in the housing markets when poor people continue to live in inhumane conditions? Surely, not.

Therefore, even if the housing responsibility is shifted back to vulnerable people Governments will still have a role to play. 

I do support the view that the dependency syndrome of communities unto governments should be addressed through appropriate urban policies that maximise community participation and empowerment. Informal settlers cannot stand on the fence and wait for Governments to provide for their basic needs. Actually they don’t,  as in fact they have already invaded in used land and utilised scrap and other materials to build homes. Then it is the policy thrust of government that must shift emphasis from government being a provider to an enabler. An enabling policy environment recognises that which people can do and seeks to enhance it. This policy environment recognises local knowledge including the promotion of indigenous knowledge systems. Building regulations and by laws are modified to create space for what people have historically been doing.

Promoting community participation whilst imposing urban development and housing models working better elsewhere will not solve the problem.

Thabo Nziweni Space planner from South Africa
Mon, March 28, 2016 at 02.10 pm

I agree the government does have an enabling role to play, but as you point out we should not undermine the efforts of the informal settlements dwellers. People are now begining to question the sustainability of the provider model, and remember, the government had set 2014 as the target year for the total eradication of informal settlements, but this has not happened. In the BNG policy document they do acknowledge how aspects such as population growth rates exceeding expectations and rising unemployment have affected the provision of housing to the poor, which has actually declined. This is the reality we are unfortunately faced with, and as Emmmanuel points out who is going to communicate this reality? I don’t think it is necessarily going against the constitution, I think the rights entailed within the constitution are within certain contexts. The government is expected to deliver within its capacity to do so.

Sijekula Mbanga from
Tue, March 29, 2016 at 09.31 am

I concur with the view that housing handouts by governments is economically unsustainable, while housing is a socio economic right in the Constitution. This requires a policy review. In coming into office the Minister of Human Settlements in South Africa, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu has raised a need to revisit the qualifying criteria for housing subsidies. She has been calling for a review of 18 years qualifying age to 40 years. Within the ruling party policy circles a pint has been made that it is premature for the Minister to make such pronouncements that hold far reaching political implications for the party and the electorate.   For South Africa, it then becomes important for political organisations to consider the matter, and then the Ministry of Human Settlements leads policy review within National Parliament. There is an opportunity for this as currently the Policy Unit in the National Department of Human Settlements  is consulting provinces and municipalities on a new Green Paper on Sustainable Human Settlements that seeks to recognise a fundamental shift in housing policy and strategy in South Africa from focusing on massive housing delivery (numbers game) to utilising housing provision as an instrument for spatial restructuring and creation of just, equitable and resilient neighbourhoods, cities and towns.   

Therefore, the reality of housing provision being unaffordable and that informal settlers should be active participants in the changing of their living environments requires the state to lead, but then supported by political organisations, NGOs and private sector. I am mentioning the private sector because it has not been clear thus far what role the private sector plays in this challenge besides being service providers in the construction and residential property market sector.  Should the private sector continue   to be concerned with governments that must ensure that the Cost of Business is at an acceptable level? Is the private sector role only about the creation of a conducive environment for them to make business and realise profits? How far does Corporate Social  Investment go in addressing the living conditions of informal dwellers?   

From:
Sent: 28 March 2016 05:25 PM
To: Mbanga, Sijekula (Prof) (Missionvale Campus)
Subject: [Habitat III] Thabo Nziweni Space planner from South Africa commented on the Discussion “Q. 1. What policy & strategy frameworks will recognise & deliver the necessary improvements to the lives of informal settlers?”

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Mon, March 28, 2016 at 11.25 am

I am following the discussion with keen interest especially the issue of housing expectation. Perhaps the South African context differs from other countries in that housing is one of socio economic rights entrenched in the Constitution. This happening in a situation where the market could not guarantee provision of shelter to vulnerable groups in society .. Also seeking to undo the ugly impact of the apartheid planning system.

My question though is whether in deconstitutionalising the basic human right of access to adequate housing by all will eradicate informal settlements in cities, towns and villages? Surely, not.

Will caring governments fold their arms or continue to play a referee in the housing markets when poor people continue to live in inhumane conditions? Surely, not.

Therefore, even if the housing responsibility is shifted back to vulnerable people Governments will still have a role to play. 

I do support the view that the dependency syndrome of communities unto governments should be addressed through appropriate urban policies that maximise community participation and empowerment. Informal settlers cannot stand on the fence and wait for Governments to provide for their basic needs. Actually they don’t,  as in fact they have already invaded in used land and utilised scrap and other materials to build homes. Then it is the policy thrust of government that must shift emphasis from government being a provider to an enabler. An enabling policy environment recognises that which people can do and seeks to enhance it. This policy environment recognises local knowledge including the promotion of indigenous knowledge systems. Building regulations and by laws are modified to create space for what people have historically been doing.

Promoting community participation whilst imposing urban development and housing models working better elsewhere will not solve the problem.

Kamukam Ettyang from
Mon, March 28, 2016 at 03.24 pm

The law cannot singularly address in full the slum question, it is up to the state as the largest economy to define the bare minimum regarding the realization of this right. In the Kenyan context, the state is instrumental in defining housing standards by approving building plans, certifying construction materials and technology and zoning. The problem is that, the state only seems to regulate the formal housing market. The lower income segment is either left to its devices or relegated to slum conditions, where investors in the market segment flout  regulations with impunity.

However, there are two missing links;

The first one is financing for low cost housing projects or even slum upgrading initiatives. The truth is that Economic and Social Rights can only be realized if commensurate financial freedom is realized. In Kenya, there seems to be significant attention to the high end mortgage market and the middle income rental segment. This is primarily because that market segment is more profitable.

The second level relates to the regulatory framework. Getting approvals and requisite licenses can be quite an uphill task to say the least. Development fees and other costs of approval constitute a significant portion of the cost of construction, making high return markets the natural options.

So, what solutions can be considered; the state can Gazette particular areas as Special Planning Zones. Under this framework, developers can enjoy significant tax breaks and concessions in construction technology, materials and standards. It is through this special planning regime that the state can define the bare minimum regarding adequate housing. In return, developers would be bound to maintain the agreed standards. This regime would create an alternative formal low cost housing market that would progressively cause that market segment to consider improvement of living conditions…

Kamukam Ettyang
Pamoja Trust

On 28 Mar 2016 16:25, wrote:

Y

Kamukam Ettyang Senior Program Officer from Kenya
Fri, March 25, 2016 at 07.48 am

Article 19 of the Constitution of Kenya provides the framework for Basic Rights. Article 43 goes further and guarantees the Right to Housing among others. It is on this basis that the Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy was designed. The policy gave recommendations touching on planning, development control and environment; shelter and housing; security and safety; infrastructure and services; legal, governance and institutional structures; land tenure and administration; and socio-economic factors. 

The policy recommends for increased budgetary allocation for programs touching on Slum Upgrading. This has resulted in continued support for programs such as the Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Program (KISIP) and the Kenya Informal Settlements Upgrading Program (KENSUP). Despite these programs, the level of government investment in Slum Upgrading is still low. The gap can be filled by the private sector. The Government needs to put in place a framework that encourages Public Private Partnerships in low income housing development. Such incentives could include tax breaks on private entities that put up low cost housing projects. More importantly, it would be important for the government to place caveats on landlords of informal settlements that benefit from infrastructure improvement against increasing rents once the improvements are done.

Instituto Estatal de Urbannsmo
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 07.13 pm

Es evidente que la propiedad del suelo contribuye a la inversión de la ciudad en términos de infraestructura, servicios y espacio público en torno a las viviendas. La ocupación irregular limita a los asentamientos irregulares a la integración y en consecuencia el desarrollo mismo que repercute en la calidad de vida de este grupo de población.

En ocasiones la política de asistencia orientada mejora en asentamientos irregulares abre sin un esquema de regulación que encuadre la ocupación irregular del suelo urbano en las estrategias de desarrollo del a ciudad, genera un escenario de la continua ocupación irregular del suelo  sabiendo que se le proporcionarán servicios públicos,  siendo irregular, como una regla no escrita.

Sin embargo no pueden dejarse de lado las políticas sociales de atención social, que promueven la educación, la salud y el desarrollo humano en su conjunto.

Políticas de regularización del suelo, a través de delimitación territorial de polígonos de actuación de estos asentamientos, que permita gestionar la legalidad de la ocupación irregular del suelo.  Esta acción implica la inclusión de estos polígonos en los esquenas de planeación urbana que permita vincular su desarrollo con la ciudad: movilidad, accesibilidad, servicios públicos, espacio público, empleo, transporte, que contribuyan en conjunto mejorar la calidad de vida de ese grupo de población.En la ciudad de Chihuahua, México, El Plan Director urbano, establece diversos polígonos identificados pore contener asentamientos ireegulares, estos son atendidos mediante la creación de equipamiento público; educación, salud, espaciuos de recreación y deporte. esto en áreas de propiedad pública. de forma paralela se gestiona ante gobierno federal la posesión del suelo ocupado iregular.

La aplicación de estas estrategias está definida programáticamente en diferentes etapas, que permite a la autoridad aplicar recursos para su realización. Todo ello es evaluado para medir los avances generados por esta política.

Los indicadores de evaluación de estrategias, han representado una aoportación valiosa en la integración al desarrarrollo de estas zsentamientos irregulares. 

Emmanuel Nkambule Architect & Lecturer in Architectural Design from South Africa
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 02.43 pm

Policies and strategy frameworks should address or attain the following:

1. Incentivise and provide enabling/supporting structures/programs for emerging social,

economic and spatial (environmental) improvements initiated and developed by informal settlers.

-For example, grants and monetary awards may be awarded to innovative business and spatial solutions.

-This has proven successful in some of the kampungs in Surubaya, where the local municipal awards residents with the best

street greening implementation, the monetary award is used to implement more improvement projects.

-Provide ‘smart and small’ social and services infrastructure that will enable micro-scale social, economic and environmental

activities for informal settlers. For example, better Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), like fast speed internet,

as the first infrastructure installation could prove more effective than providing tarred roads.

-Develop and invest in existing inventory of social, economic and environmental intiatives of informal settlers 

which have potential to have the most impact in that community. This may be more hinged in kindling

the ‘fire’ of informal settlement’s human capital and less of providing houses.

2. Social capital cultivation as a replacement for house provision. The concept of informal settlement upgrading 

needs revision. Yes, services and roads may be provided, but they are just means to an end. Policies and strategies should be about ‘housing’

and naturing of the human being’s potential in finding innovative solution to her/his challenges.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 12.51 pm

Informal dwellings exist as either shacks being formal structures (backyard dwellers) or informal shelters in a clearly defined space. Either way, this is a moving target. With the rrapid urbanisation it is becoming increasingly necessary that cities create capacity to record where urban inhabitants live. In this way some close to accurate statistics on the number of backyard shacks and informal dwellings shall be kept. The next step will be the recognition of these settlements forms by way of extending basi interim services for them to live in more humane conditions. The financing of such interim basic services may need to be explored. Existing informal settlements need to be capped, which may include some form of coding. In this way, better land-use management practices will be intriduced, including provision of transitional accommodation for new city entrants (whether through in-migration or foreign nationals joining the city). Cities need to develop more interest on street dwellers, backyard-dwellers and informal settlement inhabitants with intention to respond to the needs of inhabitants rather than regulation and control.

Informal settlements upgrading programmes should be premised from an understanding that people have an inherent potential to provide for their baisc services, and that it is the environmental conditions they get exposed to that limit their capability to meet their basic needs. As such, any intervention programme should develop an interest on what people are capable of, skills they possess, froms of living that may need support, educational levels and learner achievement levels. Strategies that are employed should seek to harness local capabilities and assets, rather than parachuting solutions to people, and hence marginalise them in the intervention programmes.

Provision of pyhsical structures to informal dwellers are not a solution. Neither the provision of a basket of urban services is sustainable without tapping on what people can do for themselves.

Juana Sotomayor – Discussion Moderator Human Rights Officer, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from Switzerland
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 11.48 am

Hello everyone and welcome to the online discussion on Informal Settlements. I share Melissa and Claudio’s point that this is a great opportunity to hear ideas and inputs in preparation for Habitat III. In my view, a human rights perspective in the discussion is essential if we truly want to find ways of addressing the living conditions of the millions of women, men and children whose homes and communities are in informal settlements around the world, including those who are homelessness within settlements.

The vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – “No one left behind” can be a powerful call for equality and non-discrimination as core principles for this discussion. Since Habitat III will provide the unique opportunity to zoom in on what it means to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services” (target 11.1), the focus on informal settlements couldn’t be more timely or crucial.

Following the four thematic areas for this discussion, I would like to propose specific questions to kick start or feed into the overall conversation. When sharing your views and ideas, I encourage you all to consider the various roles that different stakeholders play in informal settlements, from governments at the national, subnational and local levels, to social movements and community organisations, to real estate and business, as well as donors and international organizations.

 FOR TOPIC 1, my questions are: 

  1. How can policy be designed to ensure effective participation, monitoring and accountability and the implementation of human rights in informal settlements?
  2. What policy and other measures should be put in place to address the causes for the creation and/or growth of informal settlements? [e.g. speculation, lack of affordable land and housing, discrimination, gentrification]
Lalith Lankatilleke Architect & Urban Planner from Japan
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 09.04 am

Policy and strategy starting points for the People’s Process of Development:

1. Recognize the potential of people; their ingenuity, creativity and reselience.

2.  Build social capital by mobilizing people to come together and form their community organizations.

3. Place people a the center of decision making, action and responsibility.

4. Support people to plan their own development through Community Action Planning.

5.  Facilitate access to resources of the State, Local Governments, private sector and social capital through capitalizing land assets, legislation, procedures, incentives etc.

6.  Support people to implement their own develoment plans with technical assistance.

Reality Tested Youth Programme
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 07.23 am

There is need to officially recognize informal settlements exist instead of linking their legitimate existence to the land question. Peoples interest should come firt. City Council can do great justice by documenting existing slums and establish population and social amenities. Urban planners needs to cater for the demands of the urban poor. Their plans (Urban planners) should be sensitive to infrastructure that will ease transportation, sewer and connection, education and health facilities. It is a reality that informal settlement support biggest population in a city like Nairobi and we cannot ignore their existence. Settlements upgrading should also accompany livelihoods ventures since newly upgraded areas have tendency to push ‘poor’ out since they cannot sustain paying official bills such as water, garbage and electricy connection.

Claudio Torres – Discussion Moderator from
Thu, March 24, 2016 at 07.14 pm

Dear Reality Tested Youth Programme,

Thanks for kick-starting this conversation with such a strong statement. We agree that a priority task for policy and regulations dealing with urban development should be to bring recognition to the people living in informal settlements and slums, putting people first and thus taking the necessary steps towards fulfiling the right to adequate housing for all and the achievement of inclusive and sustainable cities and towns.

It is also true, as you say, that qualitative and reliable data – collected and integrated at the many administrative levels, even at commnity level, and based on standardised and measurable indicators – are critical to help the development and efficacy of the policies that will bring due recognition not only to informal settlement and slum dwellers, but also to the continous contribution they actually make to the broader urban environ in which they live.

Claudio Torres – Discussion Moderator /Policy & Outreach Advisor, Slum Upgrading Unit Housing & Slum Upgrading Brnch, UN-Habitat from Kenya
Wed, March 23, 2016 at 05.50 pm

Welcome everyone to the online discussion on Informal Settlements for the Habitat III Thematic Meeting in Pretoria. We are delighted to be moderating this discussion and looking forward to get your inputs and ideas in this critical topic for Habitat III and for the overall sustainable development of humankind. 

In particular, we are keen to know your thoughts and recommendations on how to address the dire challenge of informal settlements in a sustainable, inclusive and integrated manner, aiming at giving a viable response to this problem by 2030. Also, we would like to know your views on how informal settlement and slum upgrading could be effectively incorporated into the New Urban Agenda and help implement it.

To organise this dialogue’s inputs, we will follow the themes covered by the Habitat III Thematic Meeting’s plenary sessions, these being:

  1. From informal settlements to sustainable neighbourhoods – Policy and strategy frameworks for a paradigm shift;
  2. Urban planning and land use – Drivers for integrated, inclusive, safe and resilient sustainable human settlements;
  3. Financing informal settlement/slum upgrading – Contributing to sustainable livelihoods and inclusive economic growth;
  4. Together transforming a billion lives – Participatory approaches in planning, implementing and monitoring informal settlement/slum upgrading.

We will kick-off with a set of four related key questions, hoping to prompt everyone’s creativity and contribution. We invite you therefore to reflect on these topics and contribute with your valuable inputs.

Lastly, we would like to emphasize the need to focus on practical recommendations and feasible strategies that can be endorsed and implemented by all stakeholders involved in the commendable task of transforming the lives of the people living in slums, including slum dwellers themselves. With that, we would like to open the floor to your input on:

TOPIC 1: “From informal settlements and slums to sustainable neighbourhoods – Policy and strategy frameworks for a paradigm shift”:

  • Q. 1: What are the policy and strategy frameworks that will recognise and deliver the necessary improvements to the lives of informal settlers for theattainment of sustainable neighbourhoods, cities and towns?
Christine Inclusive Urban Development Specialist from Philippines
Fri, April 1, 2016 at 09.04 am

All urban stakeholders need to combine their efforts with the aim to create new options for providing housing and ensuring access, affordability and adequacy of services to all. This includes the private sector as a major actor in evolving and delivering technology options for housing and efficient land assembly. Civil society, namely NGOs and CBOs, work with low-income communities to evolve solutions to habitat inadequacies and lack of public services, but their engagement needs to be scaled up. A people-centered approach is needed for land use planning, urban design and tenure security. Affordable housing policies also need to explore more options, e. g. rental housing as a relevant solution for the urban poor, but also for professionals that seek more mobility. Smart solutions in the housing sector could also entail co-sharing, land-pooling and alike. Similarly, benefits that could be offered by ICT solutions for housing need to be fully explored. However, the main challenge still is the mind-set of the stakeholders involved which rather stick to traditional terms of housing provision, than exploring new ways. Eventually, measures to avoid new slums should be part of the housing strategy, e. g. through the allocation of land for new settlements.

Samuel student from Zambia
Tue, March 29, 2016 at 03.02 pm

The flourishing of informal settlements is a big challenge in most of the developing countries and Zambia is no exception. Largely this can be attributed to lack of clear policy on factors that attract these settlements. For years economic activities have been clumped in one location of avarage less than 20 km radious and everyone fights for this space. An avarage african city spans 10 – 50km radious after which its all bush to the next town or city deliberate policy to spread the drivers of economic activities will result in decongesting the current starved land space freeing up expansion or developemental projects that can give room to improving the unplanned/informal settlements that are ever on the increase. Strategically governments can use incentives to encourage industrial clusters in the ouskets of the central business districts planning well before hand for services, utilities, social aminities etc. Locals must be encouraged to participate in the process as this will ecourage ownership, continuity and sustainability.