Risks and Uncertainty in the Formal Solutions to the Informal Settlements in India

Doaa Ahmed Shehata Abouelmagd
This paper discusses various formal solutions adopted by the Indian official bodies to deal with the Indian informal settlements “the slums”. It focuses on Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) or the “Housing for All by 2022” as an essential housing act toward improv-ing the living conditions of the informal settlements, and to achieve cities and housing for all. According to the Indian 2011 censes, 66% of formal towns and cities in India have informal areas. Nearly one in every six urban Indian res-idents lives in a slum. Poor and rural immigrants find in the slums a physical shelter, but they lack quality of living and basic social-economic infrastructure. Bringing formal solution to the informal set-tlements is a challenge that requires deep understanding of the Indian heterogeneous population. This paper starts with the main housing policies that were launched in India during the 2000s, and extend to cover several case studies in In-dian cities based on a field visit conducted in India. It discusses sever-al concepts applied such as in-situ and relocation alternatives; possible improvements for the local communities by promoting livelihood re-sources; the concepts of using land as a resource, land pooling and public private partnership in developing the slums. This paper aims to understand the notion of risks and uncertainty in these solutions as constraints in improving the informal settlements in India for a better urbanism future.

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