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What are alternatives in service options?

Incremental development is a characteristic of many upgrading efforts, and lower more affordable standards are offered in most projects. At what level does a project start?

Three excerpts highlight a range of alternatives. General service delivery standards are proposed with three levels of service drawing on experience from throughout the world, followed by physical design standards used in the Calcutta Urban Development Project, India, and the very minimum ‘more appropriate’ standards used in the early Lusaka, Zambia, project. A fourth article deals with concepts for restructuring the land centered around the critical circulation layout.

Further references:

Urbanization Primer. Horacio Caminos, Reinhard Goethert. MIT Press, 1987.

Services for Shelter. Andrew Cotton and Richard Franceys. Liverpool Planning Manual 3. Prepared at WEDC (Water, Engineering and Development Centre, Loughborough University of Technology. Liverpool University Press, 1991.

Service Delivery Standards

Source: Infrastructure Provision for the Urban Poor: Assessing the Needs and Identifying the Alternatives. Christopher Banes, John Kalkermatten and Piet Nankman. Annex 1. May 1996.

Basic Service
Standpipe within 250 meters
Simple on-site sanitation or communal facilities
Gravel surface roads, paved access in high rainfall areas
Unlined channels and lined crossings; lined drains in high rainfall areas
Intermediate Service
Yard standpipe (i.e., on each plot)
Waterborne on-site or intermediate sewerage
Bus routes paved, other roads graveled except in high rainfall areas
Drainage Bus routes with lined channels, others unlined except in high rainfall areas
Full Service
Metered, in house supply
Sanitation Conventional sewerage
Roads All roads curbed and paved
Drainage Lined channel drains and/or pipes and culverts

Physical Design Standards Calcutta Municipal Development Program

Source: Staff Appraisal Report. India: Third Calcutta Urban Development Project. May 2, 1983. Annex 3C, p 1.
Component Minimum Standard Maximum Standard
Water supply
With concentrated population: Deep tubewells with secondary distribution system; provision of standpipes for lowest income groups
Secondary grid connected to primary grid; house connections
Unlined surface drains
Surface drains with concrete slab coverings at critical locations
Sanitation (privys)
Sanitary latrines to seat level only
Sanitary latrines with superstructure
Solid waste
Hand cart and intermediate vat collection, final disposal by truck
Tricycle rickshaws transfer stations for primary collection. Tractor trailers to final disposal or seconday transfer stations pilot composing plants.
Local Road improvements
Brick paved roads
Black topped metallic roads protected against erosion
Bustee improvements (dense slums)
Provision of shallow tube wells, street lighting, open surface drainage, communal sanitary latrines, brick paved paths
Provision of water taps and standpipes, intermediate vats for solid waste collection, open surface drainage, communal sanitary latrines, brick pave pathways.
Tubular structure with asbestos roofing and brick paved flooring, water supply, solid waste collection, lighting, open drainage, brick paved circulation system
Concrete structure with same services as minimum standard, but with provision of parking spaces
Parks and Playgrounds
Wire fencing, basic seating
Brick wall or metal boundary fence, basic seating, basic play facilities
Cremation grounds
Proper boundary wall to ground
Proper boundary wall and covered area for mourners

What are alternatives in service options?
Minimum ‘More Appropriate’ Standards in Early Project

Source: Staff Appraisal Report. Lusaka Squatter Upgrading and Site and Services Project. 1976.
A comparison of the 4 variations in services offered in the project are included: the squatter area being upgraded, the ‘overspill’ area where families were relocated because of upgrading (street widening, lowering of density, etc.), and two levels used in the ‘site and services’ component. (Site and services are preventive projects for low income families and provide a small plot of land, minimal services, and occasionally a core or starter unit.) See Lusaka Upgrading Project.
Road Types
*Road Types
Right of Way
Carriage Way
Foot Path

Local distributor
Gravel, bus route bitumenized
Access Road
Access Lanes
Pedestrian Paths
Squatter Areas
Overspill Areas

Water supply
Standpipes at 1 per 25 dwellings
Standpipes at 1 per 25 dwellings
Pit latrine provided by occupant outside of project
Graveled 4 meter wide internal road, no direct access to all plots; bitumenized 6 meter bus routes
Graveled 4 meter wide internal road, no direct access to all plots; bitumenized 6 meter bus routes
Open ditches
Security Lighting
Single lamp standard at 2 per Hectare
Garbage Removal
Periodic collection
Basic Servicing
Normal Servicing

Water supply
Standpipes at 1 per 4 plots
Individual connections
Pit latrine provided by occupant outside of project
Individual waterborne connection
Graveled 4 meter wide internal road; direct access to all plots, bitumenized 6m access roads
Open ditches
Security Lighting
Single lamp standard at 2 per Hectare
Garbage Removal
Periodic collection

Suggested Guidelines for Road Alignment,
Green Public Areas, Zoning and Plot Definitions

Source: General Concepts, Phases, and Detailed Steps for Upgrading Settlements in Small Towns of Kenya. GTZ Small Towns Project. June 1991.
The following should be considered when adjusting areas undergoing upgrading:


    Clearly define hierarchy of roads and paths, considering their intended function and resultant width and surfacing. Limit to three types:

    Main Roads

    Generally few, with relatively straight alignments that define and structure the area, deliberately wide.

    They are assumed to attach commercial uses

    They tend to be centrally located, equidistant from dwellings

    The travel lanes should be surfaced because of expected bus and delivery traffic

    Could be upgraded into 2 travel lanes, parking and sidewalks

    Width: 10-15 meters

    Removal policy: structures may be demolished to assure sufficient width

    Secondary Streets

    These - together with paths - form the bulk of the circulation network

    Alignment may be irregular, although keep straight as possible

    Not necessarily surfaced, but graded

    Some vehicular traffic may be assumed

    Could be upgraded into 1-2 road lanes and sidewalk

    Width: 6-9 meters

    Removal policy: Few dwellings may be demolished, only in special cases


    These - together with secondary streets - form bulk of the circulation network

    Irregular road pattern, follows previous paths

    Not necessarily graded

    Could be upgraded into shared vehicular and pedestrian use

    Width: 3-4 meters

    Removal policy: no structures may be demolished

    Design Goal: minimize length of circulation, since they approximately parallel infrastructure provision (water lines, sewer pipes, electrical lines, ditches, paving) and therefore are approximate cost indicators.Determine the length of circulation per area index and compare to other developments to determine a relative cost effectiveness of the layout. (See: circulation length/area index)

ZONING (anticipated land uses)

    Identify tentative land uses for area. Specifically identify areas for commercial use.

    Strategy: Use zoning controls, land taxation and physical elements to encourage desired development pattern. For example, zoning of ‘commercial’ along main streets favors those with greater resources who could develop shops, etc, for the benefit of the community. Reinforce this with larger plots along the street to accommodate the increased activities, pave roads, provide street lights, provide a higher standard of utility services.


    Allocate the number and size of green areas for use by all members of the community.

    Strategy: Minimize the number and combine into a few, larger spaces, with multiple uses. The goal is to minimize maintenance, encourage institutional users to provide oversight and maintenance (for example, schools who have more resources) and eliminate undefined, unused areas that become depositories of refuse.


    Determine plots which consider existing structures.

    Strategy: When possible, make plots rectangular, with short sides aligned to the roads and paths to minimize infrastructure service lines. If not possible, make sufficiently large to minimize too small unusable areas in the plot. Avoid sharp corners. Follow ‘natural’ pattern of density in establishing density instead of trying to meet arbitrary target. In extended family situations where several dwellings are involved, there are two options:

    - reinforce the extended family pattern and assign one plot for each family group, which would be larger than otherwise. This reinforces cultural patterns, and unusually shaped, irregular plots would result with more varied plot sizes generally larger. The fewer number lessons the administrative burden in plot management.

    - ignore the extended family and assign one plot to each dwelling, regardless of cultural tradition. This is a simpler approach, assures that plots are more equal, and reinforces transition to a nuclear family arrangement.

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