Upgrading settlements and urban slums

Integrating informal city
Upgrading shanty towns
Recognizing and integrating the peri-urban settlements and slums within the infrastructure and planning framework of the city. Upgrading human habitat and services to a level consistent with the requirements and resources of the residents.
Integration of the informal city does not mean applying to it the rigid rules of the formal city, but to recognize and value its diversity, ensuring access to land and to basic services, and creating an enabling environment for the population's own initiatives in the improvement of shelter and infrastructure and in income generation. The integration of the informal city is a mid- to long-term process. The first step is specific regularization of land tenure and settlement upgrading projects. Two important concepts in this connection are those of the right to the city and of the social function of property ownership. Integration thus means to respect the shelter and infrastructure stock that has been produced by the inhabitants themselves, and to recognize the value of informally produced urban space and its characteristic features, in spite of its shortcomings. Every action aimed at the improvement of the urban habitat must respond to the expressed demand of the local people, and respect their diagnoses, requests and suggestions. The community must play a leading role in all phases of the process.

In 1999, the 1,632 slum dwellers of ex-Rail shanty town (Dakar, Senegal) became residents of Xaadimu Rasuul, 1035 Baraquers of Sacre-Coeur/Liberte VI. They are now legally entitled to stay where they are and will receive, not a land title, but an authorization to live or to take up residence, provided "they behave in citizens" and they develop themselves and their area. Essential services have been set up at low cost; housing is progressively improving, and small jobs are growing. The initiative affects 22 undeveloped plots. A presidential directive gave the NGO ENDA the responsibility of reorganizing and developing this area. This marks a significant stage in the urbanization of the capital.

1. All countries should, as appropriate, support the shelter efforts of the urban and rural poor, the unemployed and the no-income group by adopting and/or adapting existing codes and regulations to facilitate their access to land, to finance and to low-cost building materials and by actively promoting the regularization and upgrading of informal settlements and urban slums as an expedient measure and pragmatic solution to the urban shelter deficit.

2. The formal and the informal city must be considered as inextricable parts of the same contemporary urban phenomenon. In order to overcome the imbalances that characterize the contemporary city, firm action must be taken to integrate the informal city and also, in a broader context, to promote urban land reform.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities