Realising the multiple benefits of climate resilience and inclusive development in informal settlements
In cities which are home to informal settlements, efforts to reduce climate and disaster-related risks for the city and its residents cannot be effective without upgrading these settlements. At the same time, upgrading must take account of the impacts of climate change to protect the settlements from climate risk.
This research report identifies ten priority upgrading interventions which can yield multiple social, economic, climate and environmental benefits. These include improved solid-waste management, diversion of organic waste and recycling, pedestrianisation, increased neighbourhood density and encouraging mixed-use development. The priority interventions are based on research in the Mukuru settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, and while they are specific to Mukuru they may be indicative for upgrading efforts in other cities.
The report also includes recommendations for city policymakers, as well as for international and national policymakers, local organisations and NGOs.
The broad recommendations for city policymakers are:
- Prioritise upgrading strategies in informal settlements which reduce climate risks at the same time as addressing other local challenges. For example, in Mukuru, interventions to improve waste management not only reduce local flood risk but also provide jobs for residents.
- Ensure that residents are able to participate fully in the development of upgrading interventions. This will help to ensure that the improvements meet residents’ needs, increase the likelihood of their participation in implementing the improvements, and support future maintenance.
- Prioritise upgrading strategies which work with informality, understanding that efforts to formalise can exacerbate the social and economic marginalisation of residents. For instance, informal workers who typically have low and erratic incomes are often unable to meet the requirements of formal banks, or utilities which expect regular payments.