With the Commonwealth games being held in Delhi last month, the pressure was on the local government to present Delhi to the rest of the world as clean and developed. Slums aren’t generally seen as clean and developed, and so hundreds of thousands of people were displaced to new colonies away from the city centre.
According to estimates made by the Delhi government, around 3 million people live in New Delhi’s slums. As the UN-HABITAT definition states, A slum household is a group of individuals living under the same roof in an urban area that lacks one or more of the following:
- Durable housing of a permanent nature that protects against extreme climate conditions.
- Sufficient living space which means not more than three people sharing the same room.
- Easy access to safe water in sufficient amounts at an affordable price.
- Access to adequate sanitation in the form of a private or public toilet shared by a reasonable number of people.
- Security of tenure that prevents forced evictions.
As part of a masterplan for 2021, the government plans to rehabilitate large amounts of the slums, generally claiming that they will favour in-situ rehabilitation. However since most of the slums are built illegally on government ground, they are often demolished without warning and with no relocation option for the residents. Although the Delhi government provided “development housing” for the residents of the displaced slums from the Commonwealth games, many of these new colonies are hours from the centre of the city and the majority of work, and so they suffer from a massive lack of jobs and infrastructure. Concerns have been raised that this massive segregation is not only threatening the residents livelihoods, but is also on the verge of creating an “Apartheid City”.
We are asking you to rethink relocation and rehabilitation. What should be done about these slums? How can 3 million people be integrated with the city as a whole, and have a reasonable standard of living? There is a lot you can think about and explore- community, sanitation, industry, international image… There are so many ways to approach this, so think no where near the box!
References and Reading