Setting It Up: Definition
Physical Issues

References are arranged following the project phases. ‘Must read’ are indicated by Must Read and most include a copy of the Table of Contents or an abstract.

Scholars have criticized the explicit faith of physical determinism in the slum clearance approach. Physical issues are discussed in a circumspect and sophisticated manner. The below four aspects cover the range of physical concerns in urban upgrading:

  1. Standards and Regulations
  2. Incremental Growth
  3. Infrastructure and Amenities
  4. Location and Land Values

Must ReadUrbanization Primer: Project Assessment, Site Analysis, Design Criteria for Site and Services or Similar Dwelling Environments in Developing Areas: with a Documentary Collection of Photographs on Urbanization. Caminos, Horacio and Reinhard Goethert. 1978. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Table of Contents)

Must Read“Design and Housing in Developing Countries,” Goethert, R. and N. Hamdi, 1983. Editors Open House International, Special Issue 8 (4). (Table of Contents)

Must Read“An Examination of Layouts.” March, Lionel. September 1972 Built Environment VI (6): pp 374-378. (Abstract)

The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro. Perlman, Janice E. 1976. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Standards and Regulations

The debate about standards is focused on defining what constitutes appropriate standards. Critics have argued that most of the newly independent countries continued to strive for standards that were a part of their colonial legacy, but these were unnecessary and unattainable. In response some scholars have argued for the complete abolition and deregulation of standards, arguing that most households tend to adopt standards that they can afford. Others have argued for a substantial revision in standards and the framing of “affordable” standards based on what households can afford. Some scholars have argued for a new set of “minimum” standards based on what is acceptable with respect to public health and safety. Still others have argued for “expandable” and “flexible” standards that can be improved over time.

The debate about standards is relevant to promoting urban upgrading in two major ways. First, what standards to strive for. And second, what existing standards are considered acceptable before being formally accepted through tenure legalization.

Must ReadEfficiency in Land Use and Infrastructure Design. Bertaud, Alain. 1990. Washington DC: The World Bank. (Table of Contents)

“The Impact of Land-Use Regulations on Land Supply, Consumption, and Price.” Bertaud, Alain. 1992. Regional Development Dialogue 13 (1): pp 14-32.

Must Read“The Benefit of Minimal Land Development Regulation.” Dowall, David E. 1992. Habitat International 16 (4): 15-26. (Abstract)

“Infrastructure Standards.” Gakenheimer, R. and G. H. J. Brando. 1987. In Shelter, Settlement and Development. Edited by Lloyd Rodwin, pp 133-150. Boston: Allen Unwin.

Informal Housing and Land Subdivisions in Third World Cities: A Review of the Literature. Payne, G. 1989. Oxford: Center for Development and Environmental Planning (CENDEP).

“Participant Observation: A Study of State-aided Self-help Housing in Lucknow, India.” Sinha, A. 1991. In Housing the Poor in the Developing World: Methods of Analysis, Case Studies, and Policy. Edited by K. G. Willis and A. G. Tipple, pp 16-34. Routledge.

Must Read“Housing as a Verb.” Turner, John F. C. (1972). In Freedom to Build: Dweller Control of the Housing Process. Edited by John F. C. Turner and R. Fichter. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Incremental Growth

It has been learnt and acknowledged that low-income residents improve the physical conditions of their houses over a period of time. In the absence of a robust institutional system of housing finance, incremental growth strategies are a developing world innovation. At the same time there are certain conditions in which incremental growth strategies are more feasible. Inexpensive land or the abundance of land is one such condition.

Policy makers are well advised to have a perspective that acknowledges the potential and limitations of incremental growth opportunities while deciding on urban upgrading.

“The Incremental Development Scheme in Hyderabad.” Aliani, A. H., and Y. K. Sheng. 1990. Cities (May): pp 133-148.

“Decision making Process for Flexibility in Housing Using Life Cycle Cost Technique.” Friedman, Avi. 1991. Open House International 16 (2): pp 29-36.

Must ReadSupports: An Alternative to Mass Housing. Habraken, J. N. 1972. New York: Praeger Publishers. (Table of Contents)

Must ReadProgressive Development and Affordability in the Design of Urban Shelter Projects. Keare, Douglas H., and Emmanuel Jimenez. 1983. Washington DC: The World Bank. (Table of Contents)

Infrastructure and Amenities

Infrastructure interventions such as water supply not only make it logistically possible for residents to improve their housing conditions they also create a perception of security against eviction creating an incentive for the residents to invest in their housing. A similar role can be played by non-infrastructure services such as child-care centers.

But upgrading interventions involving infrastructure and other amenities are faced with two major constraints. First, financing the intervention and second the physical land needed to accommodate the intervention or the resettlement due to the intervention.

Must Read“Problems in the Classification of Low-income Neighborhoods in Latin America.” Burgess, Rod. 1985. Third World Planning Review 7 (4): pp 287-306.

Must Read“Community Infrastructure for Low-Income Cities: The Potential for Progressive Improvement.” Charles L. Choguill. 1999. Habitat International 23 (2): pp 289-301. (Abstract)

“Conditions of Confusion and Conflict: Rethinking the Infrastructure-Economic Development Linkage.” Felbinger, Claire. 1995. In Building the Public City: The Politics, Governance, and Finance of Public Infrastructure, pp 109-117. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

“The Timing of Urban Infrastructure and Housing Improvements by Owner Occupants.” Strassman, Paul 1984. World Development 12 (7): pp 743-753.

Good Sewers Cheap. Watson, Gabrielle. Washington DC: World Bank.

Location and Land Values

Location of the settlement and existing or potential land values impact urban upgrading in two major ways. First the strategic decision on what strategy to follow. This can be redevelopment because of the potential high land values or even resettlement because of dangerous location, and second, a concern about the possible impact of upgrading, particularly in terms of the displacement of the poor and the vulnerable.

Urban Land Markets and Land Price Changes. Amitabh. 1997. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Must ReadThe Price of Land for Housing in Jakarta: An Analysis of the Effects of Location, Urban Infrastructure, and Tenure on Residential Plot Prices. Dowall, David E. 1990. Berkeley: University of California at Berkeley. (Table of Contents)

“Land for the Rich, Land for the Poor.” Gilbert, A. and P. Ward. 1988. In The Urbanization of the Third World. Edited by J. Gugler. New York: Oxford University Press.

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