Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology

LECTURE NO: 28 & 29

The theme of current lecture is the slum areas and their upgrading. This theme clearly identify that there are two main aspects that would be discussed in current lecture. On the one hand the discussion would be focussed on understanding of the slum areas, whereas; on the other hand the description would be given for upgrading of a slum area within an urban and regional context. In the following all these issues are discussed and described in details.

It is grave reality that, in current urbanizing world the numbers of urban poor are increasing with enormous speed. Whereas; the formal sector’s efforts of providing housing to urban poor are inadequate due to absence of political will, extraordinary growth of population & influx of migrants in urban areas. As a repercussion there emerge slums & squatter settlements in the cities. The term squatter settlements, leads us to variety of concepts. The depth in this term is such a huge phenomenon that it compels us to think of its process of development and address the numerous questions attached to it such as:

· Why squatter settlements emerge?
· How they are formed in a city?
· What are its socioeconomic and physical implications with human abuse cycles?

In order to understand the phenomenon of slum areas and squatter settlements one has to look at the existing housing situation, formal sector’s approaches in housing provision process and development of squatter settlements via informal sector’s mechanism.

Before going into further details of slums and squatter settlements or Katchi Abadis it is necessary to understand the definitions of squatter settlements & slum areas in the city.

The Oxford English Dictionary explains that “A squatter settlements is defined as the occupied land by a group of settlers having no formal or legal title to the land occupied by them, especially one thus occupying land in a district not yet surveyed by the government”.

The term squatter settlement if analyzed into some details one can easily find that the word “Squatter” means “an unauthorized occupant of the land” where as “settlement” means the “placing of person & things in a fixed or permanent position”.

Therefore one can also conclude that, when an unauthorized occupation of land occurs in any district or area then the people or things fixed or placed themselves on permanent basis to their occupied land.

However such occupied land often removed or bulldozed by authorities in the name of slum clearance or slum upgrading. As a repercussion large number of people becomes displaced & millions of rupees invested in one such occupied land go waste. Thus the issue of squatter settlements has a human and financial value attached to it.

According to “Mr. G.K. Hiraskar”[1] there are three different definitions of slum areas. These are as follows:
· A slum is predominantly an over crowded area which is in advanced state of decay where dwellings are unfit for human habitation.
· It is an area which lacks the basic amenities like water supply & drainage for standard living and where an unsanitary condition prevails & diseases flourish.
· Slum is a poverty-stricken area where there is high birth rate, infant morality, illegitimacy, juvenile crime, delinquency & death, thus represent the state of hell on the surface of earth.

Thus these definitions clearly spell out that; slum is menace to health, safety, morality and general welfare of the inhabitants.

Squatter settlements & slum areas are quite common. According to a rough estimate in Karachi alone, more than 60 percent of population lives in more than 700 squatter settlements & slums.

It is a self evident fact that, squatter settlements & slum areas are growing with an enormous speed in the entire major urban centers of the world. Whether; it is Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, New York, Tokyo, London, Rio-de-Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Shanghai or any other large metropolitan or mega city for that matter.

The basic question always remain that how to deal with this ever enlarging monster in which major victims are the human beings themselves?

· The answer to this & such type of questions is to first understand the current situation of any context where slums & squatters are emerging.
· Secondly what is the process of their making?
· Thirdly who are the actors involved behind squatter making drama?
· Fourthly how to deal with this issue?
· Fifthly what are the good practices in this regard which addressed this issue and
· Finally what are the good practices that exist and needs to be enhanced in order to find out the solutions to address this problem?

After the freedom from British Raj in 1947, Karachi became the capital of Pakistan and during the first three years after independence a major influx of migrants came to Karachi. The population of Karachi at that time was 4 lackh inhabitants where as within three years of time 6 lackhs migrants came to Karachi who has an abject need for housing. Considering the housing demand government allowed them to squatter in whatever feasible place for their survival. As a repercussion an unorganized invasion of government land occurred & city because filled with slums & squatter settlements and city become very congested with a filthy built environment. Thus in this way the phenomenon of squatter settlement emerges as housing option for poor people who are in immediate need of a shelter. In all our cities of Pakistan the government owns a lot of land which is mainly belongs to C.B.R. i.e. Central Board of Revenue and P.B.R. i.e. Provincial Board of Revenues in both inside and outside the cities. Likewise, there are other departments such as Pakistan railways. Owns a lot of land in the country. In 1950 and 60s the people came from India occupy these governments land in the form of cluster planning of settlements. These were mainly known as “Unorganized invasion” on government land. In Karachi, this unorganized invasion not only occurred on government land but private houses and buildings were also occupied by these migrants.

In 1958, Pakistan has seen its first Martial Law Administration or military government. Now military regime has a particular policy regarding these unorganized squatter settlements. They particularly do not like them at all in (then) capital i.e. Karachi. They call it the scars on face of city (just like G.K. Hiraskar) and they like the city to be clean from these settlements. Therefore, they start bulldozing these settlements and throw them out of the city. As a repercussion informal sector get into shape. In the informal sector process, mainly government employees meet the middlemen (A Dalal) and tough guys (Gundas) and give them protection and advice to make an unorganized invasion or “Kabza” on government’s land. They jointly occupied the land, subdivided it in haphazard plots and sell it. In this way occupation of land occurred in 50’s by the migrants from India.

However later on in 1960s an organized invasion on governments land took place through the organized efforts of informal sector actors. This illegal occupation of government land is popularly known as ISD’s or Informal / Illegal Land subdivisions. The process of this illegal subdivisions or ISD’s has nine major actors. It includes, a political top, an administrative top, “Mr. X”, a middle man, police, field personal belongs to different institutions & departments, land grabbers (plot sellers), tough guys and other services providers. All these nine actors have different roles to play in the squatter making dram. Their interrelationships are so strongly organized and in hierarchy that an squatter settlement establish without any hindrance or spontaneously & in a peculiar manner that it seems a solution to provision of housing to urban poor. This relationship emerged in 1960s & 70s. it was defined by “Professor Dr. Jan Van Der Linden”[2] to author is a training course on “Appropriate shelter strategies” held at “SKAA” Karachi.

The process of making a squatter settlement begins with Mr. X; Mr. X may be any body who has the information about land, contacts in administrative or political setup and a powerful & sound background. Let’s suppose his name is Mr. Wahab. This Mr. X has a subordinate or a middle man who may be a “Dalal” or locally known as “Thalla Wala” or Block Maker, let's suppose his name is Mr. Aqeel. Mr. Aqeel has the contacts with plots sellers (locally known as land grabbers), tough guys (Shagirds) and informal service providers. All these actors has different role to play at different period of time during the development of the settlement. At first Mr. Wahab contacts the administrative top & political top and identifies a piece of land in the outskirts of city because it is quite risky business to occupy land within city. On a secret place a meeting held between these three actors and their shares are decided.

Then Mr. Wahab made a claim to 500 acres to land and asks his subordinate Mr. Aqeel to take at least 100 families to the site, to occupy the land. Mr. Aqeel then contacts the plot sellers and tough guys to bring the destitute and all those families who are in need of house to the site. By the time Mr. Wahab conceptualizes the occupation of land & establishes contacts with the administrative top and political top, he is informed by Mr. Aqeel that the plot sellers have prepared a list of destitute and needy people. Thus in the middle of the night these people are brought into site on the trucks with bamboos posts and mats for the construction of shacks. After they began to put up their huts, the original owners of the site arrive on site with people or guards with guns. They inform the people that the land is leased to them by the government and they will kill any body who tries to occupy it. A scuffle followed and some of the tough guys get injured in the process. Here enters the police into the scene and try to control the situation & held negotiation between the original owner & Mr. Aqeel. Then it is decided that no houses shall be put up however the destitute can stay on the site until the matters are settled. Next day the original owner hire a lawyer & made a case in court of law against the occupation of land by Mr. Aqeel & his associates, which is leased to him. The case gets admitted. On the other hand Mr. Aqeel filed a complaint with the local police that the guards of original owner had caused a “bodily harm” to his Shagirds clients & associates. Then further negotiations took place between the original owner & Mr. Aqeel, under the auspices of mutual friends and local police. As a result the original owner is given option to receive rupees 500/plot which was developed by land grabbers of the area & Mr. Aqeel. Where as these mutual friends & police get few plots as a fee for these negotiations. Then those plots which was given to destitute are exempted from the payment to original owner, similarly, Mr. Aqeel also do not change any profit on these plots. However, Rs. 200/plot was paid to government officials by Mr. Aqeel for not interfering in this whole event. This money is also obtained from the plot owners, who also pay Rs. 200 per plot to police directly for not bulldozing their shacks or removing people from site. Afterwards the negotiations complete. The original owner withdraws its case against Mr. Aqeel & his Shagirds and Mr. Aqeel also with draw his case against original owner. However the original owner files a new case against the government officials for permitting the Squatment of land which was leased to the original owner. This case never ends for the years to come. After the completion of negotiations with owner the real process of settlement begins with the sufferings & miseries of people. At first Mr. Aqeel laid out the plan of the settlement with the guidance of Mr. X and helps of his Shagirds develop around 2000 plots on grid iron pattern. The roads of the settlements are leveled with hiring tractors & bulldozers from governments’ line departments. Its charges are taken from people. Plots for mosques & shops are set a side. This time the negotiations took place with government officials and 30 percent of plots are given to them & will be sold by Mr. Aqeel on their behalf at an appropriate time. Now plot sellers become quite active to sell the plots in the settlement except those reserved for government officials. Now whoever purchases a plot in the settlement, has to construct his house in a months’ time and move in, otherwise Mr. Aqeel sells his plot to someone else & refund the money. However this refund never really happens. “The price of 80 square yards plot was set at Rs. 900 only”.[3] From which Rs. 500 went to original owner and 200 rupees to government officials and Rs. 200 to Mr. Aqeel as a profit. The original owner of the land appointed a “Chowkidar” or caretaker to keep track on number of plots developed so that Mr. Aqeel may not cheat him. Similarly government officials had their informal representatives who visit the site regularly. Each week accounts are settled between all the parties involved. Additionally; when the local body elections takes place the selected members i.e. the councilors also get their share.

Initially in the development process of squatter settlements the major problem is water provision. This is done through tankers of government agencies on payment for each tanker. Therefore at first they made a water committee and a water tank is made in the area. The 2nd problem in squatter settlement was transport, which is solved through the Dalal’s (Aqeel) pressure group and linkage with transporters. They pressurize the agencies through political leaders and get the approval of transport route. After land occupation the poor people starts house building process on incremental basis. At first through Katcha structure people based build their houses. Then arise another action in this squatter making dram and that is “Thalla Wala” who gets the plot in settlement and made contact with material mafia with 20% profit to them. This Thalla Wala sells this material to people on 30% profit with credit. This Thalla Wala is actually playing a dual role of technical advisor to poor people for their house building process and work as an architect. He also works in the squatter settlement as a financer of house; because he gives building materials on credit. Another actor in the development process of squatter settlement is police. They also get their share when plot was subdivided and sold to people or when people made their house as pucca house. The police is a main actor in squatter development process who get more money than any body else in the settlement. It is also an evident fact that whenever they need money they bulldoze a house and then get money form each house. In the mean time the squatter settlement develops with very fast pace and become larger and larger. Then middleman or (Dalal) or Mr. Aqeel later on, make a social welfare organization and register it with the government. Then he called a meeting of people in squatter settlement and invitee a political leader and asks him to help them in development and getting services of water, electricity or gas. From them they get the facilities, on the spot such as on the spot they get the sign on documents from politicians and the engineers and technocrats of bureaucracy. This process is called lobbying. Now in this case the police left behind, so they made contact to newsmen and Journalists start writing about the illegal subdivisions in the newspaper. Finally in this way this process of squatter settlement continues and organized invasion become the grave reality of the cities & towns in Pakistan.

After having a clear picture of slums & squatter settlements in Pakistan; let’s look at the case example of slums in India. Slum and squatter settlements are too common in India. It is estimated that about twenty-five percent population of any city in India live under sub-human conditions of slums. These are commonly called as Bustees in Calcutta, Jhoparpattis in Bombay Jhuggi Jhonpries in Delhi, Cheries in Madras and Ahataas in U.P. “It is estimated that more than 6 lakh persons live in bustees in Calcutta, 2 lack in Jhoparpattis in Bombay, 1.5 lack in Jhuggi Jhonpris in Delhi, and 1.2 lack in Cheries in Madras”.[4] That is why Bombay is dubbed as a city without ‘Soul’ and its beauty is only “Skin-Deep”, although it is one of the finest cities, in the world. Even one cane clearly spells out that all over the world the primate cities are the cities without soul. Similarly there is a saying that, “God made the country, man made the town and the Devil made the slums”. This devil that made the slums is avaricious, anti-social, lacks civic sense, and is beyond the ordinary means of control. Though this notion of slum is quite common; however one must also realize the causes & reasons behind the development of slums in urban context of India. Because, it s also a disgrace to both the dwellers and the town authorities in India who allow the slum to grow and develop as a black spot on the city’s face with each new slum area or squatter settlement.

There are eight main causes for the formation of slums in India.

The Industrial growth and employment opportunities in towns and cities have acted as powerful magnets to attract the rural population to cites the workers employed in the in these factories & industrial areas generally make their habitation as near as possible to the place of work. They are low waged persons and cannot afford daily traveling from the distant places in the city. Hence in a short time the available land or open space is occupied by them buildings without any proper planning. This gives rise to the formation of slums.

There is a great demand/supply gap between the tremendous growth of population and the construction of houses. These shortages manifest themselves in creating slums.

If zoning regulations are not enforced in the early development of town, there are chances for industrial area to encroach upon residential areas. Thus very soon there emerges overcrowding with the formation of slums.

One of the major reasons for slum development is the physical and social decentralization in which the rich and middle class people move out to the extension areas of city by leaving the poor in the overcrowded part of the town to make it more unsanitary. As a result the slum colonies start mushrooming at a fast rat within city.

If the inhabitants are lacking in education, they may not pay attention to improve the living conditions, and lose the civic interest and neighbourhood spirit. They are therefore easily attracted by social evils, and delinquency. As a repercussion an apathy (every thing goes) emerges in people and they make slums.

One of the main causes for the slum formation can be described in one word as “poverty”. The meager and unsteady income leaves the family with no other choice but to direct all the energies in earning their daily bread and butter with some minimal clothing. It is difficult for them to pay heavy rent for a decent living. They therefore move in slum move in slum areas, for nobody with black money builds decent houses for the slum-dwellers.

There is nothing wrong with old houses if they are looked after from time to time. But in India, repair and maintenance are the foreign words. Hence most of these buildings remain in a state of decay to favor the formation of slums.

Lack of adequate powers and enforcing the same by the local authorities for the proper development of the town are also the reasons for the formation of slums. If preventive measures are not taken in time, the decent localities of the town will be the slums of tomorrow. Even Chandigarh which is a planned capital is growing beyond the bounds of rigid planning in suburbs and slums.

There are seven major effects of slums on town life.

Unhealthy conditions are created due to absence of public facilities like water supply, drainage, sanitation and light etc. the sub-human conditions of the slums considerably affect the health and life of the people.

There is complete absence of social and cultural life due to slum formation in the city.

The mental outlook of the slum dweller is affected due to his physical environment. He develops low moral character as such he is easily attracted by vice, delinquency, crime and clandestine activities in bootlegging, narcotics, drugs, adulteration, etc.

The overcrowding area is full of noise, smoke and congestion. This affects considerably on the working conditions of the people in offices, schools, hospitals etc.

Due to slum development the road trend to become congested i.e. children play on roads so there is a danger from traffic accidents.

With the development of slums all open areas being attacked and there emerge no open space for recreation, pure air etc.

A slum dweller loses his ambition, civic interest as well as wholesome neighborhood spirit.
In short a slum as such forms a black spot and spoils the healthy environment of the city as a whole. Thus it becomes an abject need to improve the physical, social & cultural life of city. And preventive measures shall be taken to avoid formation of slums.

The slums in the towns gradually grow & develop to prevent them. Slums are health hazards to the cities which later on create serous socio-economic and political problems. Thus ‘Nip in the bud’ or ‘Prevention is better than cure’ are the watch words against the formation.First of all, the authorities should make provision for healthy conditions of living and working. The subsidized cheap housing in sufficient number should be provided for the workers, Labourers, and poor people with all civic amenities and utility services. The authorities should enforce the law that the employers should provide better housing facilities for their Labourers. They should have power to control the rents under Rend Restriction Act. They should arrest the sub-standard and unauthorized constructions on vacant lands. Proper wages should be provided to the labors to improve their standard of living. The laborers in return should maintain and carry out repairs whenever required so as to keep the existing buildings in a good condition. The laborers should be properly educated to take care of health, cleanliness and general welfare of their families.
Even after taking precautions if the slums develop then there emerges only one option for authorities and that is slum clearance. The process of slum clearance in India is done with two basic methods. i.e. Improvement Method and Complete Removal Method.

One methods of not aggravating the housing shortage is to take up slum-improvement scheme. This method has an added advantage of not causing much disturbance to the slum dwellers. As the slums are developed due to poor drainage system and unhealthy conditions. Hence the drainage arrangement is modified and improved. Public utility services like water, drainage, electricity, gas may be provided in the affected area. In slum area the housing conditions are also fairly good and only a few houses need some improvement to make them slightly more habitable. Further, any impending structures coming in the way may be removed. Low portions of the old slums like ditches, or swamps may be filled up and then the existing roads may be widened. With proper planning and improvement works it is possible to make the slums slightly more habitable at the minimum cost.

In this method area may be completely cleared out of the existing locality. In this case only such buildings which are really in good condition are retained and all other dilapidated structures are pulled down. Transit Camps in the form of temporary buildings near the slum areas should be constructed to accommodate those displaced in the process of slum clearance. Any stinking factory that occurs in slum areas may be shifted to some other more suitable place. The areas thus cleared up may be used as open spaces and as sites for new buildings; part of it may also be used for widening the streets. Care should be taken to keep the density within amenities such as water supply, drainage, sanitary arrangements, electricity, gas etc. Lastly the legal aspects of this scheme while shifting the population should also receive due attention. The legal aspect include publication of the slum clearance scheme; acquiring the land, paying compensation for the acquired land, making accommodation for the displaced persons in the process of slums clearance etc. The slum eradication by this method proves to be very costly, but it is certainly worth-while to bear it in the interest of the community of the city.

In India the scheme introduced in 1956 contemplates the grant of financial assistance by the Central Government to State Government and Union Territories for slum clearance and improvement schemes. The main principles of the scheme are given below. There should be minimum dislocation of the slum dwellers. They should be re-housed in nearby area of the existing sites. To keep down rent within paying capacity of the slum dwellers and emphasis is given on the provision of minimum standards on environmental hygiene and utility services rather than on construction of costly structures. The government of India provides financial assistance to the state government in the form of block grants and block loans and the state governments are free to make its use as per their requirements. The state government and local bodies can provide dwelling units viz. open developed plots, skeletal house, pucca tenements, hostel dormitory type and night shelters, to slum dwellers. These units will be provided with independent lavatory, pucca bath, and washing platforms connected with drains and taps. The cost of these dwelling units ranges from Rs. 1850 to Rs. 8750 per units and the subsidized rental ranges from Rs. 6 to Rs. 39 per months, depending upon the type and place of construction.
The existing ceiling cost for normal two-roomed house is Rs. 5000 and that for a small two-roomed house is Rs. 4000. In case night shelters are constructed, the ceiling cost is limited to Rs. 727 and the rent chargeable for sleeping accommodation for the pavement dwellers should not exceed 25 paise per person per night including service charges. Financial assistance is admissible under the scheme which is repayable by slum dwellers in 25 years with the rate of interest fixed by the central government from time to time. Such colonies will be provided with water mains, drainage, sewerage, community baths, latrines, water taps, properly paved roads with adequate widths, street lighting etc. The government of India has also approved a scheme in 1960 to remove jhuggis and jhonpris which is applied only to New Delhi. The plots were given on lease for 99 years on paying the cost (with 50% subsidy) in a lump sum or in ten equal annual installments. Likewise central government is making all possible efforts by providing financial assistance to slum dwellers for the improvement of their living conditions.

The case study of India as described above is taken from the book, “Fundamentals of Town Planning” by G.K. Hiraskar. The reason behind discussing this case study is that, in the text books of Town Planning such type of solutions are given for slum clearance & upgrading; which become obsolete and currently such type of solutions are not applicable. Whereas; the local authorities still believe in such type of temporary solutions for slum clearance & upgrading & propagate it their slum clearance & upgrading programs. Let’s analyze why such type of slum clearance & upgrading programs are obsolete? First of all one must understand the existing ground realities. In 1992 a report published by “Independent South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation”[5] which estimated that there are 330-340 million people in south Asia who lives under the poverty level. It means that around 30-40 percent of total population of south Asia lives below poverty live. Furthermore the urban poverty of total poor population has increased from 13% to 18% during the decade of 1986-96. It is also a reality that, “Everyday in Asia the urban population increases by the equivalent of one city of 140,000 people”[6] where at it is expected that urban population shall be doubled in next 20 years. The cities have so far absorbed the growing number of population in settlements with varying quality of living. However, urban growth has resulted in negative growth of sprawling squatter settlements & slums. In every city in developing countries, there is a large population of less affluent people who reside in squatter settlements. A study from the united nations in 1994 (ESCAP) predicted that 60% of the urban population of Asia shall be living in slums & squatter settlements by the year 2000, whereas; currently the number of squatter settlements & slum dwellers has increased from this number. For instance in Karachi only there are more than 700 squatter settlements in which 60% of urban population lives & it is estimated that by the year 2020 the population of Karachi shall be doubled & 80 percent of population shall be living in slum & squatter settlements. Thus in a city where 60 % of population is living in slums & squatter settlements; can there be any solution like slum clearance with prescribed “improvement method” or “complete removal method”? The answer is definitely not because 60 % housing stock neither can be bulldozed completely nor re-planned comprehensively be pulling down all dilapidated structures.
The only option available is “muddling through” or gradual & incremental improvement with the support of public, private & informal initiatives. Because no financial assistance can be equivalent to human sufferings & decades of hard work in building the housing by poor or making of squatter settlements & slums. Even then large number of evictions still takes place in most of the urban centers in Asian countries. For instance, “in the city of soul, Korea in just three years of time 750000 people was evicted (Between 1985-88) Similarly Philippines evicted 100000 people each year between 1986-92[7] According to urban resource centers eviction watch in Karachi alone more than 2000 households are evicted between the year 1997-2000. Whereas in 2008 an age old project of Lyari expressway in Karachi may evict around 25000 families with just the compensation of Rs. 50000 each from which a decent toilet is difficult to build. The evictions may cause three basic impacts on the affected of forceful eviction i.e. physical, economic & psychological. It takes around two decades to recover from the misery of eviction from people’s minds. The eviction reduces the housing stock of city & ruins the economic value of housing which may be small in real terms but for an individual it is very big. The eviction detaches the squatter from employment opportunities which are usually in near by areas or within the settlement itself. The eviction also up roots the community & break their social & cultural activities which functions as an economic and psychological safety net. The home is the center of every body’s lives and forceful eviction form home is a very traumatic experience especially for children its impacts never goes from their memories. While eviction is a traumatic experience in itself the most harmful impact of eviction may actually be the fear of being evicted. It makes people fatalistic, with lost confidence in themselves & discouragement form improving their housing. It can not be denied that there are occasions such as major infrastructure projects where eviction can not be avoided or deny the land owners the right to evict. However it is a reality that land acquisition mostly takes place without compensation. Thus it is quite necessary that evictions should not take place without a dialogue and solutions which are acceptable to both parties. Because squatters have often lived on the land for very long time &they have there by acquitted an informal right to land due to their efforts & hardships of decades for the development & investments on the land. Whereas their nostalgic values are also attached with the settlements they live in for a long period of their life. Thus there is a need to develop a policy regarding slums & squatter settlement while upgrading the city and its slum areas.

On the basis of analysis & evaluation of slums & squatter settlements issue following conclusions can be drawn.

i) The major issue regarding provision of housing to poor is land, which is pure gold as far as squatter and private sector institutions are concerned.
ii) As the land in urban area is considered a commodity through which money can be made! So appropriate land management is an abject need of the time and provision of land to poor by formal sector initiatives can not be avoided.
iii) As the population influx to urban areas reached to its zenith the scarcity of land is a grave reality and access to land is required by poor communicated through any means.
iv) As the poor people can not have access to the land through formal sector initiatives, therefore they opt for informal sector processes & occupy the governments land & make slums & squatter settlements.
v) It is also a reality that in some cases the formal sector it self involved in making squatter settlements due to there failures in provision of housing to poor.
vi) Once the slums & squatter settlements develop the major issue which requires immediate attention is the provision of services & infrastructures which is usually obtained by squatter at a very high cost.
vii) Furthermore it is a bitter reality that population influx to urban centers continues and shall continue & it can not be eliminated & through formal sector processes housing can not be provided to poor urban communities.
viii) Thus what options & strategies are available to formal sector? This is the question which needs to be answered in an appropriate manner. For that matter policies regarding slums & squatter settlements by different countries & the solutions given by different institutions should be analyzed. On the basis of which recommendations can be made.
ix) There are two major case examples which can be cited with respect to appropriate policy option for squatter settlements and slum upgrading. One is Guided Land development (GLD) Jakarta and other is Katchi Abadi improvement and Regularization Program of Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority Karachi Pakistan.

Jakarta suffers from housing shortage & tremendous demand of land for housing the poor just like any other city. The government of Indonesia changed its housing policy in late 1960s from focusing on conventional Housing delivery system to strengthening the informal housing sector by providing basic infrastructure & security of land tenure. This policy of government of Indonesia is manifested in their “Kampungs Improvement Program (KIP)”. The Kampungs are basically a common form of low income informal settlements which house around 70% of Jakarta’s population.

The Kampungs Improvement Program (KIP) provided around 70 to 80 percent basic infrastructure to these Kampungs. As a repercussion overwhelming majority of Kampungs dwellers have bought the land they live one. However their access to land remained the same through private & informal land subdivision with a limited land tenure security, therefore land conflicts are quite common. Considering the growing land scarcity, rapidly increased land prices and population growth and the growing awareness and understanding of land management issues the guided land development was established.

The GLD-program would provide basic infrastructure such as secondary access roads, foot paths, drainage & water, where as the cost of this development would be recovered through betterment taxes (or more appropriately termed as the cost recovery tax.) The GLD-program recognized the current ongoing process of private & informal land subdivisions; however they guide & control its development & improving its technical standards.

In this respect betterment tax allow the government to recover around 60 % of the cost. In 1979 it was estimated that, the cost to residents’ ranges between Rs. 20000 to Rs. 230000 depends on type & size of plot. (one US $ = approximately Rs. 24 in 1994) Up till now, there are three basic objections raised & debated on GLD-program. Some low income groups may be adversely affected such as tenants. Better income groups also get benefited directly from this program. Subsidized infrastructure provision created negative environmental consequences due to without regulating land use changes.

Conclusively there are seven basic objectives, themes, concepts or steps for working of guided land development GLD-program which are as follows:

i) To assist poor people to build housing by providing technical and financial support as well as affordable land. The program applies reasonable standards, such as, for example, as minimum plot size of 20 square meters.
ii) To guide the transformation of Kampungs, informal settlements and villages into functional urban structures.
iii) To provide infrastructure and services at minimum costs for the government and the residents, including an element of cross-subsidy between high and low income groups. Plots adjacent to access roads will for example, be charged considerably higher than plots with access to only a foot path.
iv) To stimulate the development of small-scale industries and other work opportunities.
v) To set up a special organization within the government for efficient and quick land registration and land titling.
vi) To set up a special implementation body within each project area consisting of local land regional government representatives as well as development consultant(s). The development consultant(s) should act as an intermediary between the private sector and the local community. The functions of the implementation body are to promote, regulate, facilitate and coordinate the development.
vii) Finally, to form a management board, consisting of representatives of local government and the residents, initially represented by an NGO, to solve project management problems more directly.

After having the clear perception about the guided land development program of Indonesia it is necessary to see another option for slum upgrading and development of squatter settlements through the case example of Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority’s settlement upgrading program.

The government of Pakistan passed the Katchi-Abadis Regularization Act; regularizing all squatter settlements (Katchi Abadis) located on government land and built before 31 March 1985. At the same time, the authorities announced a freeze on the Katchi Abadis that could be regularized. In return for paying a one-time charge to cover the costs of raw land, internal and external development as well as a nominal annual rent, squatters received 99-year leases that could not be transferred within five years. Although the involved costs were low, few households applied for titles and cost-recovery became a major problem. Many residents wanted to see whether fees would be further reduced or removed completely. Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority (SKAA) in Sindh Province has adopted a policy whereby they will only provide land titles to households which have paid the costs of raw land and external development and undertaken internal development themselves (by community itself).

The concept of internal development is the development & maintenance of primary roads by community where as external development means provision of infrastructure in secondary and major roads of the settlements by the Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority. This concept is applied to all aspects of physical development such as supply of water & sewerage, sanitation etc.

SKAA has taken the approach to encourage the setting-up of community-based organization (CBOs) for the provision of infrastructure. Under the UNICEF funded Urban Basic Program, SKAA has been working closely with the Orangi Pilot Project, a non-governmental organization, which has proven that CBOs can provide infrastructure at a substantially lower cost and at mush faster pace than the government. Where as training & extension services to community based organization is the solution to slum upgrading.

In 1994, infrastructure was being constructed by CBOs, funded by squatter households, in several cities in Sindh including Karachi, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur, and was to be introduced in Hyderabad. As of the second quarter of 1994, out of total of 1293 katchi abadis, 132 have completed development works, 201 schemes have been approved and 64,190 households have been provided land rights (SKAA, 1994).

In the end it is necessary to recognize that squatter settlements, slum area &their upgrading is an issue which is humanitarian, functional (because a healthy work force is more productive) and political (because adequate shelter is a basic human right).

There are one-ninety-two nations in the world who have signed the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights. The covenant acquired legal status in 1976, and provides a legal obligation for its signatories to provide adequate shelter among the other things. Though the world is changing the governments policies & priorities are also changing, however it is a reality that if governments whishes they will be more efficient if they act as a catalyst & facilitators to informal processes in provision of shelter to poor.

It is now proved or rather it is a proven fact that housing the poor as well as squatter settlements and slum upgrading is actually more political and institutional issue rather than technical. As most of the observers of squatter settlements have realized that, people will gradually upgrade their housing overtimes, they invest their capital and labor and mobilize their social network if they are provided the opportunity and their housing is considered legitimate.

Thus the three major actors must come together i.e. People, Politicians and Professionals. It will make the world a better place to live without squatter settlements & slums, or improved and upgraded settlements.

1. Arif Hasan, “Seven Reports on Housing” March 1992, Published by OPP-RTI, Orangi Karachi, Pakistan.
2. G.K. Hiraskar, “Fundamentals of Town Planning”, 1993, Published by Dhanpat Rai & Sons, 1682, Nai Sarak Delhi 110006 India.
3. Municipal Land Management in Asia, A comparative study, 1994-95 published by United Nations economic and social commission for Asia & Pacific (UNESCAP) and Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements (City Net).

[1] G.K. Hiraskar is the author of the book “Fundamentals of Town Planning” 1993, Published by Dhanpat Rai and Sons, 1682, Naisarak, Delhi 110006, India.
[2] Professor Dr. Jan Van Derlinden was the processor at free university Amsterdam Holland, has studied various squatter settlements in Pakistan & India and come across these interrelationships in the making of squatter settlements in Pakistan. Though he has published various publications on squatter settlements However two of his marvelous works are the books, “Dalalabad” and Land is Pure Gold” which defines the process of developing squatter settlement, and the interrelationships of actors involved in it. Similarly another book, “Seven Reports on Housing: by Arif Hasan, published by “OPP-RTI”, March 1992, Karachi, may also define this process quite explicitly.
[3] This price of plot was in 1978. for details please see, “Seven Reports on Housing” by “Arif Hasan” March 1992, Published by Orangi Piolet Project-Research & Training Institute (OPP-RTI) Karachi, Pakistan.
[4] For details please see, “Fundamentals of Town Planning” by G.K. Hiraskar, 1993 Published by Dhanpat Rai & Sons, 1682, Naisarak Delhi 110006 India.
[5] The South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation is an independent Commission which is appointed by SAARC countries in 1991’s Colombo summit of SAARC.
[6] For details please see, Municipal Land Management in Asia, A comparative study, 1994-95 published by United Nations economic and social commission for Asia & Pacific (UNESCAP) and Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements (City Net).
[7] Ibid No.6


Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology


In order to understand the process of suburban development; it is imperative to at first grasp the concept of suburbs and suburban growth and then an interpretation of the phrase suburban development in the context of a town, city and a region may be possible. In the following all these three issues are discussed and described in details.

Suburbs[1] are commonly defined as smaller residential communities lying immediately outside a city. In the United States, suburbs have a prevalence of usually detached[2] single-family homes.[3] Some suburbs have a degree of political autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods. Modern suburbs grew in the 20th century as a result of improved road and rail transport and an increase in commuting. Suburbs tend to proliferate around cities which ideally have an abundance of adjacent flat land.[4] Any particular suburban area is referred to as a suburb, while suburban areas on the whole are referred to as the suburbs or suburbia, with the demonym being a suburbanite.

The word is derived from the Old French subburbe and ultimately from the Latin suburbium, formed from sub, meaning "under", and urbs, meaning "city". In Rome, important people tended to live within the city wall on one of the seven roman hills, while the lower classes often lived outside of the walls and at the foot of the hills. "Under" in later usage sometimes referred variously to lesser wealth, political power, population, or population density. The first recorded usage, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, comes from Wycliffe in 1380, where the form subarbis is used.

In the United States, Canada, suburb usually refers to a separate municipality, borough, or unincorporated area outside a town or city. This definition is evident in the title of David Rusk's book CITIES WITHOUT SUBURBS[5], which promotes metropolitan government. U.S. colloquial usage sometimes shortens the term to 'burb, and "the Burbs" first appeared as a term for the suburbs of Chicago. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, suburb merely refers to residential areas outside the city centre, regardless of administrative boundaries.

Suburbs in this sense are not separated by open countryside to the city centre. In large cities such as London, suburbs include formerly separate towns and villages which have been gradually absorbed during city's growth and expansion. In Australia and New Zealand, suburbs have become formalized as geographic subdivisions of a city and are used by postal services in addressing. In rural areas of Australia their equivalent are called localities. In Australia, the terms inner suburb and outer suburb are used to differentiate between the higher-density suburbs with close proximity to the city center, and the lower-density suburbs on the outskirts of the urban area. Inner suburbs, such as Te Aro in Wellington, Prahran in Melbourne and Ultimo in Sydney, are usually characterised by higher density apartment housing and greater integration between commercial and residential areas.

Prior to the 19th century, suburb often correlated with the outlying areas of cities where work was most inaccessible; implicitly, where the poorest people had to live. Charles Dickens used the word this way, albeit not exclusively, in his descriptions of contemporary London. The modern American usage of the term came about during the course of the 19th century, as improvements in transportation and sanitation made it possible for wealthy developments to exist on the outskirts of cities. The Australian and New Zealand usage came about as outer areas were quickly surrounded in fast-growing cities, but retained the appellation suburb; the term was eventually applied to the original core as well.

The growth of suburbs was facilitated by the development of zoning laws, redlining and various innovations in transport. After World War II availability of FHA loans stimulated a housing boom in American suburbs. In the older cities of the northeast U.S., streetcar suburbs originally developed along train or trolley lines that could shuttle workers into and out of city centers where the jobs were located. This practice gave rise to the term bedroom community, meaning that most daytime business activity took place in the city, with the working population leaving the city at night for the purpose of going home to sleep. The growth in the use of trains, and later automobiles and highways, increased the ease with which workers could have a job in the city while commuting in from the suburbs.

In the United Kingdom, railways stimulated the first mass exodus to the suburbs. The Metropolitan Railway, for example, was active in building and promoting its own housing estates in the north-west of London, consisting mostly of detached houses on large plots, which it then marketed as "Metro-land".[6] As car ownership rose and wider roads were built, the commuting trend accelerated as in North America. This trend towards living away from towns and cities has been termed the urban exodus[7].

Zoning laws also contributed to the location of residential areas outside of the city centre by creating wide areas or "zones" where only residential buildings were permitted. These suburban residences are built on larger lots of land than in the urban city. For example, the lot size for a residence in Chicago is usually 125 feet (38 m) deep, while the width can vary from 14 feet (4.3 m) wide for a row house to 45 feet (14 m) wide for a large standalone house. In the suburbs, where standalone houses are the rule, lots may be 85 feet (26 m) wide by 115 feet (35 m) deep, as in the Chicago suburb of Naperville.

Manufacturing and commercial buildings were segregated in other areas of the city. Increasingly, more people moved out to the suburbs, known as suburbanization[8].Moving along with the population, many companies also located their offices and other facilities in the outer areas of the cities. This has resulted in increased density in older suburbs and, often, the growth of lower density suburbs even further from city centers. An alternative strategy is the deliberate design of "new towns" and the protection of green belts[9] around cities. Some social reformers attempted to combine the best of both concepts in the garden city movement.[10] In the United States, since the 18th century urban areas have often grown faster than city boundaries. Until the 1900s, new neighborhoods usually sought or accepted annexation to the central city to obtain city services.
In the 20th century, however, many suburban areas began to see independence from the central city as an asset. In some cases, White suburbanites saw self-government as a means to keep out people who could not afford the added suburban property maintenance costs not needed in city living. Federal subsidies for suburban development accelerated this process as did the practice of redlining by banks and other lending institutions.[11] Cleveland, Ohio is typical of many American central cities; its municipal borders have changed little since 1922, even though the Cleveland urbanized area has grown many times over. Several layers of suburban municipalities now surround cities like Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. While suburbs had originated far earlier; the suburban population in North America exploded after World War II. Returning veterans wishing to start a settled life moved en masse to the suburbs. Levittown developed as a major prototype of mass-produced housing. At the same time, African Americans were rapidly moving north for better jobs and educational opportunities than were available to them in the segregated South. Their arrival in Northern cities en masse – in addition to race riots in several large cities such as Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia – further stimulated white suburban migration. In the U.S., 1950 was the first year that more people lived in suburbs than elsewhere. In the U.S, the development of the skyscraper and the sharp inflation of downtown real estate prices also led to downtowns being more fully dedicated to businesses, thus pushing residents outside the city center.

Urban development in Canada has largely paralleled development in the United States. After World War II, large bedroom communities of single-family homes and shopping centers sprouted on the outskirts of Canadian cities. However, Canada has far fewer suburban municipalities than the U.S. Many large cities, such as Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa, extend all the way to, and even include the countryside. However, the fact that literal boundaries of suburbs are not present in Canada does not eliminate suburbs, per se. The boundaries of Canadian cities are under the jurisdiction of the provinces, which have imposed city-suburb mergers. Vancouver and Montreal regions still have suburban municipalities, although their suburban areas are generally grouped into fewer cities than is typical in the United States. British Columbia created a "metropolitan" government for the Vancouver area in 1965, but the urbanized area has since grown well beyond it.

Today, Toronto has some of the largest suburban municipalities in North America, and the two largest suburbs in Canada are in this metro area. Mississauga (668,549) and Brampton (433,806) together claim 1.1 million inhabitants, and would be the third largest city in Canada if merged. Many Toronto suburbs have significantly improved on the suburban philosophy, adding a downtown to many suburban centers, notably Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan and Markham. In 1998 the governmental structure was reorganized to include many of these formerly independent suburbs into the Greater Toronto Area. Vancouver has several large suburbs, with more than three quarters of a million people living in Surrey (the third largest suburb in Canada), Richmond, and Burnaby. Montreal has its two largest suburbs, Laval and Longueuil, as well as a suburban group of smaller municipalities neighbouring Montreal known as the West Island.


Many post-World War II American suburbs are characterized by eight major aspects:

i. Lower densities than central cities, dominated by single-family homes on small plots of land, surrounded at close quarters by very similar dwellings.
ii. Zoning patterns that separate residential and commercial development, as well as different intensities and densities of development. Daily needs are not within walking distance of most homes.
iii. Subdivisions carved from previously rural land into multiple-home developments built by a single real estate company. These subdivisions are often segregated by minute differences in home value, creating entire communities where family incomes and demographics are almost completely homogeneous, although suburban developments have become and are becoming more diverse.
iv. Shopping malls and strip malls behind large parking lots instead of a classic downtown shopping district.
v. A road network designed to conform to a hierarchy, including culs-de-sac, leading to larger residential streets, in turn leading to large collector roads, in place of the grid pattern common to most central cities and pre-World War II suburbs.
vi. A greater percentage of one-story administrative buildings than in urban areas.
vii. A greater percentage of Caucasians and less percentage of citizens of other ethnic groups than in urban areas. Black suburbanization grew between 1970 and 1980 by 2.6% as a result of central city neighborhoods expanding into older neighborhoods vacated by whites.[12], [13] , [14]
viii. Compared to rural areas, suburbs usually have greater density, higher standards of living, more complex road systems, and less wildlife

In many parts of the developed world, suburbs are different from the American suburb, both in terms of population and in terms of what they represent. In some cases suburbs of cities outside of North America are economically distressed areas, inhabited by higher proportions of recent immigrants, with higher delinquency rates and social problems. Sometimes the notion of suburb may even refer to people in real misery, who are kept at the limit of the city borders for economic, social and where applicable some argue ethnic reasons. An example in the developed world would be the banlieues of France, or the concrete suburbs of Sweden. In most ways, the suburbs of most of the developed world are comparable to several inner cities of the U.S. and Canada. In the UK, the government is seeking to impose minimum densities on newly approved housing schemes in parts of southeast England. The new catch phrase is 'building sustainable communities' rather than housing estates. However, commercial concerns tend to retard the opening of services until a large number of residents have occupied the new neighbourhood. In the illustrative case of Rome, Italy, in the 1920s and 1930s, suburbs were intentionally created ex novo in order to give lower classes a destination, in consideration of the actual and foreseen massive arrival of poor people from other areas of the country. Many critics have seen in this development pattern (that was circularly distributed in every direction) also a quick solution to a problem of public order (keeping the unwelcome poorest classes together with the criminals, in this way better controlled, comfortably remote from the elegant "official" town). On the other hand, the expected huge expansion of the town soon effectively covered the distance from the central town, and now those suburbs are completely engulfed by the main territory of the town. Other newer suburbs were created at a further distance from them. In China, the term suburb is new, although suburbs are already being constructed rapidly. Many new suburban homes are similar to their equivalents in the United States, primarily outside Beijing and Shanghai, which also mimic Spanish and Italian architecture.[15] In Hong Kong, however, suburbs are mostly government-planned new towns containing numerous public housing estates. New Towns such as Tin Shui Wai may gain a notorious reputation as a slum. However, other new towns also contain private housing estates and low density developments for the upper middle and upper classes. In Malaysia, suburbs are common, especially in areas surrounding the Klang Valley, which is the largest conurbation[16] in the country. These suburbs also serve as major housing areas and commuter towns[17]. Terraced houses[18], semi-detached houses[19] and shophouses[20] are common concepts in suburbs. In certain areas such as Klang, Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya, suburbs form the core of these places. The latter one has been turned into a satellite city[21] of Kuala Lumpur. Suburbs are also evident in other smaller conurbations including Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang.

Suburbs typically have more traffic congestion[22] and longer travel times than traditional neighborhoods.[23] Only the traffic within the short streets themselves is less. This is due to three factors: almost-mandatory automobile ownership due to poor suburban bus systems, longer travel distances and the hierarchy system, which is less efficient at distributing traffic than the traditional grid of streets.

In the suburban system, most trips from one component to another component require that cars enter a collector road, no matter how short or long the distance is. This is compounded by the hierarchy of streets, where entire neighborhoods and subdivisions are dependent on one or two collector roads. Because all traffic is forced onto these roads, they are often heavy with traffic all day. If a traffic accident occurs on a collector road, or if road construction inhibits the flow, then the entire road system may be rendered useless until the blockage is cleared. The traditional "grown" grid, in turn, allows for a larger number of choices and alternate routes. Suburban systems of the sprawl type are also quite inefficient for cyclists or pedestrians, as the direct route is usually not available for them either. This encourages car trips even for distances as low as several hundreds of meters (which may have become up to several kilometres due to the road network). Improved sprawl systems, though retaining the car detours, possess cycle paths and footpath connecting across the arms of the sprawl system, allowing a more direct route while still keeping the cars out of the residential and side streets.

Finally it is necessary to know that there are many more expressions of the term suburbs through which the concept of suburbs and suburban development can be further elaborated i.e. Boomburbs[24]; Commuter town[25]; Developed Environments[26] such as Rural[27], Exurban[28], and Urban[29]; Edge city[30]; Ethnoburb[31]; Exurb[32]; Faubourg[33]; Inner suburbs[34]; Microdistrict[35]; Penurbia[36]; Streetcar suburb[37]; Suburbia bashing[38]; Urban rural fringe[39]; Urban sprawl[40]; White Flight[41] etc. In addition a List of largest suburbs by population[42] may be explored online or London commuter belt[43] (Stockbroker belt) and other Settlement types[44] such as Hamlet[45], Village[46], Town[47], City[48], and Megalopolis[49] can be studied from the world wide web.
[2] Land Development Calculations 2001 Walter Martin Hosack. "single-family detached housing" = "suburb houses" p133 From
[3] "Housing Unit Characteristics by Type of Housing Unit, 2005" Energy Information Association From
[4] The Fractured Metropolis: Improving the New City, Restoring the Old City, Reshaping the Region by Jonathan Barnett From
[5] ISBN 0-943875-73-0 from
[10] Garden Cities of To-Morrow From
[11] Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival By Paul S. Grogan, Tony Proscio. ISBN 0813339529 Published 2002 Page 142 "Perhaps suburbanization was a 'natural' phenomenon—rising incomes allowing formerly huddled masses in city neighborhoods to breathe free on green lawn and leafy culs-de-sac. But, we will never know how natural it was, because of the massive federal subsidy that eased and accelerated it, in the form of tax, transportation and housing policies." From and
[12] Barlow, Andrew L. (2003). Between fear and hope: globalization and race in the United States. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-1619-9 From ; and,M1
[13] . Noguera, Pedro (2003). City schools and the American dream: reclaiming the promise of public education. New York: Teachers College Press. ISBN 0-8077-4381-X. From,M1 ; and
[14] Naylor, Larry L. (1999). Problems and issues of diversity in the United States. Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey. ISBN 0-89789-615-7 From and,M1
[15] Modern suburbia not just in America anymore From
[23] Why adding lanes makes traffic worse From