Trans­form­ing habi­tats

Fo­cus of slum im­prove­ment schemes must be on safe struc­tures rather than on re­lo­ca­tion of in­hab­i­tants

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Van­dana Ram­nani

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.

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