Focus of slum improvement schemes must be on safe structures rather than on relocation of inhabitants
Most slum improve-provement schemesmes in Delhi have failedailed because theyy have focusseded on relocating slums andd taking people away from their livelihood. Also, while many government redevelopment projects in resettlement colonies have proposed highrise structures, the need is to look at options and designs that are acceptable by the community that lives there and integrates them with the main city. The focus of the schemes is on helping low-owincome households upgraderade their temporary accommoda-modation into permanent andd safe structures without havingng to relocate with some financialncial and technical help.
Social housing comprising high- rises have proved to be unsuccessful in the West and, therefore, should not be replicated in India, say experts. When the poor in America and Europe were forced into housing projects such as Cabrini Green in Chicago or the tenements of Clichy-sous-Bois near Paris, there was spurt in violence, drug use etc.
Now those housing blocks are being torn down to make way for low rise, mixed use neighbourhoods that integrate the poor into the life of the city. So, why should high-rises be built in these clusters? asks Swati Janu of micro home solutions (mHS), a social housing initiative.
T he Delhi- based s ocial enterprise mHS worked on a pilot project to redevelop two slum clusters in Dundernagari in east Delhi with a community-based NGO Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT). The residents of the slum block were leather workers and the other housed the Muslim community. Homes in both the clusters doubled as workplaces.
Majority of the houses were single-storey huts built using temporary roofing material such as tarpaulin and plastic. Most homes did not have a toilet. The project continues to remain on paper and the community continues to live in unliveable slums.
I n Sunder na g ari, mHS ensured that all work areas of the slum dwellers were accommodated on site and made special design provisions for cattle rearing, leather work
etc. In this case, the community was consulted before arriving at a redevelopment design. While the government scheme called for highrise apartment buildings, the design done by mHS looked at a low-rise structure where there was easy access to the street, for running small enterprises or moving goods to the market. The proposed design consisted of four- storey clusters with two street levels. The second storey was accessed by ramps for cycles. The plan had workshops on site, a semi-private front veranda etc.
Unlike the government plan where every household would get the exact same design and size, mHS plan proposed that members with more family members and higher monthly incomes could choose to go in for bigger spaces.
mHS also undertook a pilot p project five years ago in two neighbouring JJ resettlement colonies ( Mangolpuri and S Sultanpuri) in North- West Delhi, with a plan of expanding subsequently to the Narela r resettlement Colony.
The pilot was scheduled to be completed within six months. Within this time period, a target of 20 houses was to be achieved in Mangolpuri and Sultanpuri J J Resettlement Colonies. According to Housing Repair and Reconstruction Pilot Project in Delhi - a Case Study by Shahana Sheikh from Centre for Policy Research, people living in resettlement colonies look for the following features in an “improved” house – a toilet/bathroom (as privacy is becoming an increasing consideration), storage space, an extra room which can be rented out for income generation (also helps the household to pay back loan), ventilation and lighting. A few households also want to undertake the construction or re-construction of “factories” on their roof. Bengaluru tops the list of real estate destinations in the country while Gurgaon drops to tenth position, says a report by PropEquity, a real estate data, research and analytics firm.
The report says that the southern region of India has moved ahead of the north on all parameters such as size of the market and CAGR of absorption.
The top three cities are Bengaluru (#1), Chennai (#3) and Hyderabad (#4). Bengaluru has emerged as the best city among 14 cities in India. Pune has come a close second and has been solely responsible for helping the western region to gain the second spot. The NCR region has failed to make its mark on any of the parameters evaluated and thus has low regional as well as city rankings.
“Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad on the basis of the evaluated parameters are not the top 10 cities of India, only Gurgaon continues to remain on the list at the tenth position. The southern region has performed relatively better across all the parameters and we expect this trend to continue going forward,” says Samir Jasuja, CEO and founder of PropEquity.
Mumbai, ranked number one five years ago, has now slipped to the eighth position. The western region has been has been impacted by the sluggish economy.