Approaches in transforming Informal settlements.

Can we ever develop an all encompassing formula towards improving informal settlement that works in all situations?

We have discovered that there isn’t.

From an era of ‘mass slum Rehab’ & ‘Slum improvements’ to in-situ slum up gradation and surgical operations within the milieu of informal settlements – all have been approaches , with their fair share of successes and failures.
At present it is realized that the structure of an informal settlement, differs in all elements of form/semiotics/ syntax of built environment, landscape/open space and social order from a typical urban context. Therefore to approach an informal settlement with preconditioned ideas and design moves, emerging from a more urban understanding does not respect the underlying structure of an informal settlement, and thereby doesn’t necessarily translate to success. There are numerous distinct political/economical/social contexts within informal communities that demands discerning responses.
Here is an excellent article from Harvard design magazine with examples of transformations in informal settlements from Latin America which is known and acknowledged as a boiling pot , of inequalities and disparities but also full of possibilities and triumphs.

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About the Author

Nidhi Batra Nidhi Batra is a Consulting Editor with ‘The Urban Vision’. She is a development sector practitioner with areas of specialization as participatory planning, environmental urban design, green architecture, urban governance and urban poverty aspects. She is presently involved with The World Bank and Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA). She has been awarded UNEP fellowship and Rockefeller Fellowship in the past that has given her the opportunity to study aspects of environmental urban design in Germany and Inclusive development in South Africa. She has worked in large scale master planning work in National and International contexts.