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SLUM INDEX - PEOPLE, PLACE, POLICIES
Slums, often defined as settlements lacking in one or more deprivations (e.g water services, sanitation facilities, sewerage systems etc) are generally viewed as representations of poverty in a city, and hence the opposite of prosperity. 33% of the urban world population is estimated to be living in slum conditions, characteristic of lack of access to basic services, living in a disaster prone areas/informal settlements, no protection against eviction and against discrimination to access to basic services. Slums manifest at the people, place and policy level.
This level refers to a household's access and use of basic services such as improved water, improved sanitation, durable housing, sufficient living area and security of tenure. Households that do not have access to one of these basics are considered as slum households. Measuring deprivations at the household level has been the major approach used by UN-Habitat to estimate slum populations and to monitor the MDGs slum target (target 7D) since 2003.
Over the years, advances in geospatial science have enabled the measuring of the spatial structure of a settlement. This has helped to establish the formality and informality of a human settlement based on such attributes as housing density, availability of public spaces, width of streets/passages etc.
GORA Corp has incorporated the place aspect in the multiple slum index, which helps define from the onset the level of informality of a settlement even before venturing into the measurement of the various deprivations. The place element is also used to explain the level of urban planning, and level of development enforcement in a settlement (which are two important determinants of settlement form and structure). One fundamental element of the settlement is its street network in terms of land allocated to streets, street density and intersection density. The street network is directly related to the level of basic service delivery, since most trunk services are laid out along circulation networks. A settlement which allocates about 20% of its land to circulation is more likely better served with basic services (or can easily achieve the same through retrofitting) than a settlement that allocates only 5% of its land to circulation networks.
Policies refer to institutions and laws put in place to protect people against unlawful eviction, to ensure equitable distribution to basic services to all communities, and to put in place transparent and accountable process of land regulation, key for secure land tenure. This also includes the planning of the city.
Data on policy setups, particularly those related to unlawful eviction is increasingly being generated. Monitoring evictions has also become a much easier task with growth in free satellite imagery and the advent of imagery analysis techniques. This is fast increasing the pace with which policy and institutional setups on eviction can be tracked and monitored. GORA Corp is currently testing the methodology for integration of various policy indicators into the multiple slum index, for enhanced estimation of slum related data.