S for Slum Upgrading

The 21st century is referred to by many urban practitioners as the century of cities, but the problems emanating from the supply of housing especially in the global south are huge and debilitating. This has drawn the attention of international organisations including the United Nations and the World Bank stating that “Hundreds of millions of urban poor in the developing and transitional world have few options but live in squalid, unsafe environments where they face multiple threats to their health and security” (World Bank UNCHS, 200: 1).

According to the UN the slum dwellers population would increase to 1.4 billion by 2020 with a greater percentage in sub-Saharan Africa if this trend continues unabated and therefore adequate measures should be taken to eradicate slums without adversely injecting psychological imbalances on the urban poor.

In this regard as an alternative to forced eviction, the UN-Habitat is promoting slum upgrading which fundamentally deals with the provision of infrastructural services among others such as water, sanitation services and electricity to informal areas in a participatory manner. Participatory Slum upgrading Programme (PSUP) is an accelerated and action-oriented urban assessment of needs and capacity-building gaps at a municipal level.

In 2008 UN-Habitat with funding from the European Union commenced a massive participatory slum upgrading programme mainly in African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. This programme adopted three broad steps in a participatory manner:

Urban profiling 
Action planning and programme documents formulation
Programme implementation
Urban profiling simply means involving the local people in mapping out areas of action in their locality and what types of action should be undertaken . From thence the programme documents are formulated in a manner that promotes community contracting  and self- help construction projects. In a nutshell the community people are actively involve at every stage of the project cycle.


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