Property Rights, Tenure Security And Slum Upgrading – Ideas And Challenges To The Traditional View

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Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany Department of Economics Course “Advanced Development Economics” Winter term 2002/2003 Section Paper by Zalán Andreas LANG Matr. No. 100977304891 Tutor: Raji JAYARAMAN, Ph. D.

Property Rights, Tenure Security and Slum Upgrading – Ideas and Challenges to the Traditional View
ABSTRACT In the Millennium Development Goals Declaration in September2000, the United Nations committed themselves to the improvement of living conditions of a 100 million slum inhabitants worldwide. While the intention of targeting the supposedly really poor people is clearly laudable, it remains surprisingly unclear which strategies are aimed to be applied. This paper will try to argue that besides the conventional strategies, especially tenure legalization andslum upgrading, more sophisticated approaches, which include a broader consideration of slum characteristics, would be desirable. The paper will mainly rely on the findings of two recent papers each by Mukhija (2001;2002) and De Souza (1999;2001) and a comprehensive paper by Werlin (1999). The results of case studies in Mumbai, India, and Recife, Brasil, suggests frameworks challenging theconventional point of view. The paper concludes with suggesting possible future challenges for researchers and practitioners.

1. Introduction There are many interpretations about the existence and persistence of slums. A very easy economic explanation in a Harris-Todaro framework would suggest that slums constitute an externality problem in the context of urban-rural migration, whereby the migrant takesinto consideration that his expected income in town will be higher than in the village. Even if income distribution remains highly unequal, increasing per capita income in town keeps on incentivizing people to migrate in the hope of gaining from the trickle-down effects of the large businesses´ increasing demands. While there is certainly much truth to such arguments, some caution is needed. Fromquite early on, empirical studies have shown that slum societies are much more complex in their composition. In particular, it has been found that slum inhabitants have often lived in slums for a long time, even for generations. Income structure within slums is quite varied and very different kinds of lot sizes and tenure rights among squatters can lead to considerable wealth differences. However,well-known symptoms of slums, like


dangerous health conditions due to the lack of sanitation, access to clean water and sewer systems should always give rise to serious concerns. According to a World Bank report, all surface water in the Metropolitan Maila Region was contaminated with human, solid and industrial wastes due to 1000 tons of waste going uncollected every day (Werlin, 1999,1526), much of which certainly can be attributed to slum areas. Spread of epidemics is further clearly aggravated by the density of slum areas. To get access to fresh water and medical care, squatters have to cover large distances, leading to high time costs. At the same time education opportunities are usually scarce in the neighbourhood, leading to possible vicious circles of human capital.Instead, crime rates are known to be high, adding to the insecurity of living conditions. Further problems peculiar to slums will be mentioned later on when discussing different strategies.

2. Outline of slum upgrading history In order to deal with squatter settlements, around the middle of the 20th century, many developing countries radically implemented slum clearance programs. Typicallygovernments were driving these projects, attempting both to convert illegal squatter settlements into more profitable land use and trying to relocate slum inhabitants in modern housing. By the 1960s, however, it turned out more and more clearly that these programs usually have led to a loss of total number of housing units (Mukhija, 2002, 555). Besides, the lack of financial funds for redevelopment...
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