Title: Engineering as a tool for improving human habitat
Author: Priti Parikh, Allan McRobie
Department of Engineering, Centre for Sustainable Development and Newnham College, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK.
Department of Engineering, Cambridge University, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB21PZ, UK
Journal: Int. J. of Management and Decision Making, 2009 Vol.10, No.3/4, pp.270 - 281
Abstract: The conventional approaches to poverty alleviation in the slums entail a cocktail of interventions in health, education, governance and physical improvements, often stretching the scarce resources far and thin. Driven by the 'poverty' mindset, physical measures such as minimal paving, public water posts and community latrines actually brand the slums apart instead of assimilating them into the urban infrastructure fabric. The concept of Slum Networking proposes comprehensive water and environmental sanitation infrastructure as the central and catalytic leverage for holistic development. At costs less than the conventional 'slum' solutions, it tries to penetrate a high quality urban infrastructure net deeply into the slums to assimilate them into the city rather than lock them in as disadvantaged islands. Further, it transcends resource barriers and 'aid' through innovative partnerships and the latent resource mobilisation potential of the so-called 'poor'. This paper examines Slum Networking as implemented in Sanjaynagar in Ahmedabad, India and compares it with a similar settlement with no interventions in Ahmedabad. It assesses the knock-on impact of physical infrastructure on health, education and poverty. Finally, it evaluates the multiplier effect of physical infrastructure and the partnerships on the subsequent investments by the community in its own shelter and habitat.
Keywords: multiplier; poverty alleviation; slums; poverty; sanitation; slum networking; water; human habitats; urban infrastructure; assimilation; India; investment partnerships; slum communities.