Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology
TOPIC: SLUM AREAS AND THEIR UPGRADING
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”.
· 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.
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.
· 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.
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”. 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.
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”. 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.
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” 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” 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.
On the basis of analysis & evaluation of slums & squatter settlements issue following conclusions can be drawn.
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.
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.
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).
 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.
 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.
 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.
 For details please see, “Fundamentals of Town Planning” by G.K. Hiraskar, 1993 Published by Dhanpat Rai & Sons, 1682, Naisarak Delhi 110006 India.
 The South Asian Commission on Poverty Alleviation is an independent Commission which is appointed by SAARC countries in 1991’s Colombo summit of SAARC.
 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).
 Ibid No.6