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Slums: What Can Be Done?

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By Author: Anil Yadav
Total Articles: 62
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What is a slum?
The word ‘slum’ is something that doesn’t have a specific definition. The closest definition is that it is an area that has some of the following characteristics -

• Poor structure housing
• Overcrowding
• Inadequate accessibility to clean water
• Inadequate sanitation
• Insecure residential status

To be more specific, a slum consists of a group or household of people living in the same area that have one or more of the above characteristics.

To be fair, slums aren’t just created out of thin air. They are usually formed by poor government policies, failure to meet the demand for decent affordable housing, low government investment in infrastructure, poor urban planning system, as well as the other general causes of poverty.

The absence of a good slum design has affected the areas significantly. First of all, there is no adequate spacing between individual shacks or houses, and as a result, this simply increases fire hazards, as well as other issues. The poor sanitation has given rise to several contagious diseases as well. The fact ...
... that nothing has been done about the slums is one of the reasons why people in the slums always remain there and find it difficult to escape poverty.

What is slum rehabilitation?
In simple terms, slum rehabilitation is the process of improving the slum architecture design and implementing new amenities for the benefit of the people living in the slums. Usually, a slum rehabilitation project consists of a company building a new housing area to relocate the people living in the slum. However, the process is not that easy.

Quite often, the new housing must be made from a limited amount of budget and space. As a result, it is extremely important that the architect and designers use the budget carefully but at the same time, without compromising on the main purpose of the project. They are expected to fit the best design in a small area. They will also have to take into detail every aspect of the building. This is one of the reasons why the projects take a lot of time for research and study. The planners will have to study the existing slum, the amenities they lack, the number of people to accommodate, and so on. They will then perform complete research on the project and how it can be done by following the housing and land regulations. After this, 3D models of the housing plan is created. After this, housing construction is started.

The most important benefits of a slum rehabilitation project are significantly better and bigger houses, sufficient break spaces to prevent fires, excellent sanitation by providing clean water supplies and toilets. If required, multiple storeys are added to accommodate different families. It doesn’t end there. Quite often, renewable energy, community workshops, and other livelihood programmes are implemented.

Even though this idea has been around for quite some time, the actual development by the government has been limited with not enough homes designed. And those that were created were not enough to accommodate different family needs. However, in recent years, more and more companies have taken the initiative to rehabilitate slums as they are key to the development of a city, and in turn, the entire nation.

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