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Housing Projects

Secure tenure and access to housing are issues that plague the urban poor in India. In larger cities, nearly half the population lives in slums.

Slums that are affected by natural disasters such as floods or need to be demolished to make way for city development must be re-settled on safe land.

In Maharashtra, urban slum dwellers who were residents before 1995 have the right to in-situ upgrading and re-settlement, but the process is excruciatingly slow. Most government policies and programmes simply do not address realities on the ground, and the tremendous backlog in providing housing grows every day with continuing migration to the cities.

Shelter Associates has endeavoured to raise these issues with the local and state Government through its projects. Our expertise in housing the poor has matured over twelve years, and we are proud to be have implemented two major resettlement projects in Pune.

One of the main obstacles of effective urban planning in India is a lack of up-to-date, comprehensive and sufficiently detailed information about urban areas. This lack of information is a major reason behind the failure of urban municipalities to include informal settlements (known as slums) in city-wide planning and urban development. In the metropolitan cities, large proportions of the urban population live in slums, but major urban projects tend to skirt around the informal city. In the absence of information and understanding of slums, these settlements are typically considered to be chaotic masses rather than coherent urban areas. They are easily ignored or are dealt with by programmes aimed specifically at slums, not recognising them as integral parts of the city.

To address this, Shelter Associates/Baandhani has been working over the last few years to develop the use of slum surveys and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for collating information about slums for inclusive urban planning. Since early 2000, Shelter Associates/Baandhani has worked on projects in Pune, Sangli and Khuldabad that aim to introduce slum surveys and GIS as tools for integrating low-income settlements into urban planning and development.