A Policy Framework for a Slum Upgrading Programme

More about City Development StrategiesTen principles that shape the policy framework
for a successful slum upgrading programme

1. Accept and acknowledge slums and their importance.

Achieving a city without slums begins with a shared understanding that slums and their residents are an integral part of the city, and that slum residents have a right to the city and to its services.

2. Political will and leadership makes slum upgrading possible.

Both national and local governments must provide the vision, commitment, and leadership required to sustain nationwide upgrading. Government authorities at all levels and other stakeholders make and uphold the commitment to upgrade slums because is in the best interest of the city and nation.

3. Include the slums in the city’s plans.

Create a strategy and plan how to transform slums as part of the core business of managing and improving the city and its economy. An effective tool to define these plans is to carry out a City Development Strategy (CDS) to identify city priorities, lead to producing a workable plan for the upgrading programme.

4. Mobilise partners.

Partnership is important to successful upgrading. Successful slum upgrading is a highly participatory endeavour. It is also very comprehensive and complex, needing coordinated inputs from many local government agencies as well as those from outside the public sector.

5. Provide security of tenure.

Secure tenure is at the very centre of slum upgrading. Without some form of legal tenure security the situation of slum residents and their neighbourhoods is uncertain: they could be removed at any time. People who fear eviction will not invest in their houses. They will invest, however, once they have a sense of permanence and realise that they can sell their house and recoup their investment. Furthermore illegality and informality make them susceptible to exploitation, corruption and extortion.

6. Plan with, not for, the slum communities.

Residents are the main partners of slum upgrading programmes. Because their futures are directly affected by the decisions, and because they can help in the upgrading process, it is necessary that they be fully informed and actively involved.

7. Ensure continuity of effort over time and institutionalise the programme.

Upgrading is an incremental, but sustained process. When slum upgrading is municipal a core operation, it produces cohesion, coordination, and increases efficiencies in service provision.

8. Allocate budget, design subsidies, mobilise public and non-public resources.

Stable and consistent national and local budgetary allocations are needed for slum upgrading. Large-scale upgrading programmes need central government support backed by corresponding national budgetary allocations, subsidy policies and human resources.

9. Find alternatives to new slum formation.

Upgrading existing slums and preventing new slums are twin objectives of Cities without Slums policy. Until land and housing policies are changed to eliminate barriers for the poor, new slums will continue to occur. Therefore, cities need to introduce proactive measures for producing viable alternatives to slums.

10. Invest in community infrastructure.

It is important to invest in a community infrastructure that helps build community cohesion. Investing in infrastructure demonstrates a government’s commitment to an area and brings dignity back to a neighbourhood. If a government invests poorly, people will not respect the infrastructure.