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informal settlements essay

Essay On Informal Settlement

Essay on immigration to america.

Imagine being forced out of your home by a war only to have to travel on a long journey to a completely new place because you heard it was safe there. For many immigrants, this was a reality. While not every immigrant came to America because they were forced out of their homes, some did. Others came to America for the opportunities that they were promised. Work was a major pulling factor, in the early 1900s, when America was still growing, jobs became rapidly available and many immigrants used this as an opportunity to come and start a new life. However promising America seemed, it was definitely a strenuous journey for most as they were forced to travel by boat with lots of other immigrants for extended periods of time, all with the same goal

Essay On Immigration In The 19th Century

In the nineteenth century, rates of immigration across the world increased. Within thirty years, over eleven million immigrants came to the United States. There were new types of people migrating than what the United States were used to seeing as well. Which made people from different backgrounds and of different race work and live in tight spaces together; causing them to be unified. Not only did they immigrate to the United States, there were cities all over the world attracting all sorts of individuals. In this essay, I will discuss the variety of people who migrated, why so many people leaned towards immigration, and why the majority of immigrants populated the cities instead of rural areas like their homelands.

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I am writing at the moment from Virginia and I hope all my family is able to read my experienced in the colonial era. Migrating from Europe was difficult but I am able to witness so far the liberty to worship God and people who worked to promote the church. There are ways to preserve the identity as Christians without any state rule that prohibits personal beliefs. People are able to purify their life in God without anyone feeling persecuted or suppress because of negative consequences one can experienced. There is also land and the benefits of it are cash crop and able to better economically. There’s an opportunity to grow tobacco and sell it as this gets trade with other countries and opens opportunities to acquired more land. The land also provides the ability to grow other agricultural products.

Essay On Immigration In The 1920s

Americans had rarely accepted outsiders as equals, and that was the case with immigrants coming to the U.S in the 1840s to the 1920s. A time in America where immigrants were not considered inferior to native white Americans did not exist. The hatred of anything non-American, especially with the coming of World War I in 1914, would only cause more Americans to despise immigrants. Part of this was rooted simply in racism, which existed towards groups other than African Americans, but much of it was simply that Americans considered themselves the chosen people while everyone else was below them. Thus, despite immigrants being accepted into America, those immigrants were still treated far worse than white citizens between the 1840s and 1920s, for the prejudice against them was obvious even in the laws created.

Native American Reservations Essay

In the United States there are many people that suffer without cause and by situations not of their own making. Consider, by way of illustration, the plight and suffering found on Native American reservations. With many reservations located in harsh, dry deserts far from thriving metropolitan areas, tribespeople are essentially surrounded by their unforgiving conditions and are subjected to lives of neglect, drunkenness, and poverty. The natives are suffering without cause and by circumstances not of their own creation.

Immigration In The 1920s Essay

In the 1920’s the United States become home to an influx of more than 15 million immigrants which coincided with a second Ku Klux Klan growth. The Ku Klux Klan had previously been formed in 1865 by six confederate veterans operating primarily in the southern regions, however began to decline after the enforcement acts of three bills were put in place in 1871 during the Reconstruction Era. Delivering suffrage rights and prohibiting attacks on African Americans from state officials or the Ku Klux Klan, these enforcement acts were successful in supressing Klan crimes. The 1920’s saw the Klan peak popularity with more than 4 million members notorious for using violence against various different social groups. Whilst the rising immigration rate

Pros And Cons Of Affordable Housing

Social leased, moderate leased and intermediate housing are given to qualified families whose necessities are not met by the business sector (Communities and Local Government 2012). Qualification is resolved with respect to local incomes and local house prices. Reasonable should include provisions to stay at a moderate cost for future qualified families or for the subsidy to be reused for option reasonable housing provision. As characterized in area 80 of the Housing and Regeneration Act of 2008, social rented housing is owned by local authorities and private enlisted providers for which rule target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It might likewise be owned by different persons and provided under

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Affordable housing is a necessary requirement in life for people who accept low income and has a good effect for society. According to Tran, (2015) view that, affordable housing is a worthy resource which has great potentialities in the economic system and it has contributed enormously to change the appearance of the metropolis as well as the countryside. The target of affordable housing gives the support to the community. For example, affordable housing can give us benefit in all aspects such as it brings profit in commercial enterprise, improving the standard of animation and an affordable housing can bring down some of the problems which related to the surroundings. As a consequence, the government should make more affordable lodging for

Conflict Theory Of Homelessness

Homelessness can be understood in the perspective of conflict theory, which holds that capitalism is one the main reason for homelessness.

American Colonization Dbq Essay

Beginning in the early 1400s, Europeans, ranging from French to Spanish to English, began flocking to North America for a variety of reasons, both holistic as well as selfish. While some methods of colonization were healthier than others, all had their advantages and disadvantages to the overall gain of the colonizer. Some argue that colonizers sought mainly religious advantages; however, all colonization in the New World, even religious, was rooted in socioeconomic greed. Men who were unable to climb the social hierarchy in Europe sought new opportunity in America, and other colonists sought economic gain through gold and cash crops; therefore, the colonization of North America was not a religious endeavor, but instead it was a socioeconomic

White Settlers Research Paper

Power relations could be anything that sets two things apart, whether that is the ability to accomplish something or act in a specific manner. This is what gives a certain group of individuals the power to interact or control other groups. This concept can be visualized by the relationship pertaining to that of White Settlers and Native Americans during the late 1700s and through to the late 1800s. Cultural influence in regards to the white settlers can bring many gains and opportunities stemming from the political rivalries, the interaction between beliefs, and how individuals viewed one another in general. The culture of the Natives was ultimately altered due to the arrival of these pioneers because of the gradual integration of white values and practices into their society.

Kingsley Davis's The Urbanization Of The Human Population

Kingsley Davis, who is said to have pioneered the study of historical urban demography wrote his “The Urbanization of the Human population” in 1965. In his essay, he states that the history of the world is in fact the history of urbanization and then begins with description of how tiny European settlements grew slowly through the Middle Ages and the early modern period. According to him, urbanization occurred mainly because of rural-urban migration and not the other factors that people believe. He discusses how the production levels of this time period, due to the feudal system, used to favor an agrarian culture and then how the process of urbanization intensified during the 1900s, especially in Great Britain. He then clarifies the difference between urbanization, which he describes as the process of a society becoming more urban-focused, and the growth of cities i.e. the expansion of their boundaries. Davis describes the urbanization process as occurring along an S curve, beginning slow, becoming fast, and then slowing down again. Based on this idea of S curve, he predicts an end to urbanization.

Argumentative Essay On Urbanisation

Urbanization can be a good impact to a country and has the ability to improve its economy and the life of people but it also has the ability to destroy the country and the life of all the people that exist there.

Education And Urbanization

Urbanization improves access to basic education for all. Expanding education systems in urban areas is easier and costs less than in rural areas. Thus Africa’s rapid urbanization is expected to increase enrolment, especially at primary level. Indeed, the nature of cities appears to provide incentives for investment in education by residents. Returns to education are generally higher in urban than rural areas—and so literacy rates and enrolment should be higher in urban than rural areas. There is a positive relationship between urbanization and education school enrolment at both primary and secondary level increases with urbanization. While enrolment in primary schools is less than 50% in regions with an urban population share less than 20%,

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informal settlements essay

Informal Settlement Essay

2.0 INRODUCTION Having set the aims, objectives and research questions in the first chapter, this chapter zooms in to review literature available on the subject of land tenure regularization and its effect on housing investment from different parts of the world with specific reference to cities. The emphasis of this chapter is to analyse the link between land tenure regularization and housing investment in informal settlements. Also, the focus is on securing land rights in informal settlements, since it is widely believed that regularization of informal settlement rights leads to (increased) access to formal finance which subsequently encourages housing investment (Chome and McCall, 2005). The chapter starts with contextual definition of key terms, and then followed by global documentation on the impact of tenure regularization in informal settlement, focusing on the experiences of some selected countries. Since the aim of the research is to investigate the effect of land tenure regularization on informal housing investment and that both the Zambian Local Authorities and the government have intention to regularize informal settlements, lessons learnt from the case study countries will be noted, after which the chapter will be concluded in section 2.6 by way of a summary. 2.1 CONTEXTUAL DEFINITIONS 2.1.1 INFORMAL SETTLEMENT Many synonyms have been used in literature to refer to informal settlements. These include spontaneous, irregular, unplanned, marginal and squatter settlements. Some literatures have used the terms slums and informal settlements interchangeably (UNHSP, 2003). While a clear definition for informal settlements is still difficult to find (ibid), some organisations have given descriptions of informal settlements.... ... middle of paper ... ... revision of tax rates and many more. In order to secure land tenure for the urban informal settlers, different countries have introduced licenses or Certificates in different names. However they all have the same objectives. For instance, in Zambia residents are issued with a 30-year Occupancy Licences while the area undergoes through the process of upgrading. These can be later replaced by certificates of title , which carry the same effect as if the landowner were obtaining a direct lease of the land from the state (UN-Habitat, 2012). In Botswana, Certificate of Use is issued to informal dwellers so as to encourage them on further housing investment (Durand-Lasserve, 2006). In Brazil, Concession of the Real Right to Use is issued to residents. The validity period of these licences varies between 30 and 50 year periods but subject to renew (Van der Molen, 2002).

In this essay, the author

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Background of the Study

Urbanization is a dynamic socio-economic force which has considerable temporal and spatial variations (Ali & Mustaquim, 2007). In the developed countries of Europe and North America, urbanization has been a consequence of industrialization and has been associated with economic development. By contrast, in the developing countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, urbanization has occurred as a result of high natural urban population increase and massive rural-to-urban migration (Brunn and Williams, 1983:4). A slum involves much more than housing, deficient sanitary and hygienic facilities, over-crowding and congestion by which it is characterized (Clinard, 1970).

The involvement of the informal settlers is immensely evident in the urban areas. These slums are usually located along the waterways, dump sites, under the bridges, danger zones and the like. In which case, the government has appointed the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to tear down these slums and relocate its population at a resettlement site. On another note, legislators, too, have written some policies for the informal settlers and their needs.


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Waterways have been clogged by garbage and human waste that stop the water from flowing. Recently, floods claimed many lives and had increased its height from gutter level to waist or chest level.

The government could not afford to spend a lot for flood victims which mostly were informal settlers along the waterways. The main causes of informal settlements are economic, religion, and politics. People from the rural areas are attracted for the great fortune that urban settlers could made. They migrated to the urban areas and tried their luck.

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Some were due to religion in the case of Hinduism where in there is a caste system that do not recognize the people from the outcast or untouchables. While others because of their political ideology. We aim to supply the necessary and sufficient knowledge for future researchers and for the public regarding the policies on informal settlements. Through this paper, anyone could understand the social vulnerability of these informal settlers especially those who are living along the waterways.

Significance of the Study

The significance of “Policy Study on Informal Settlement: Waterways as Concept” is that: it could be a learning paradigm for the public to enhance their knowledge about the general considerations of informal settlement along the waterways and also to gain knowledge regarding its importance. This study would provide information about the issues on rapid urbanization and inadequate capability to cope up with the housing needs of people in urban areas and on how it have contributed to the development of informal settlements. Living in these settlements often poses significant health risks. Access to health and other services may be limited; overcrowding could contribute stress, violence and increased problems of drugs and other social problems to the society.

Together, these pose special risks to children both during the prenatal period and after birth. This indicator provides a general measure of these risks. To future researchers, the proposed study will benefit and help them as their reference or guide in conducting a more developed study about informal settlement. As Asian Studies major, we will gain knowledge about what is the condition of informal settlers here in the Philippines. We will also know about the policies that cover informal settlers. We will also be able to know the government agencies that monitor the effectiveness of these policies.

Statement of the Problem

1. The policies for informal settlers.

2.1 The implementation and effectiveness of these policies.

2.2 The benefits of these policies and how it affects the social vulnerabilities of these informal settlers.

Definition of terms

1. Policy study – applies a social science perspective to questions of policy and management in modern organizations. It acquires a solid grounding in policy analysis and the policy process. (University of New South Wales)

2. Informal settlement – areas where groups of housing units have been constructed on land that the occupants have no legal claim to, or occupy illegally; unplanned settlements and areas where housing is not in compliance with current planning and building regulations. (Glossary of Environment Statistics, Studies in Methods)

3. Waterway – a river, canal, or other body of water serving as a route or way of travel or transport. (Legal Dictionary)

4. Urbanization – refers to a process in which an increasing proportion of an entire population lives in cities and the suburbs of cities. (Faculty of Fairfield)

5. Social Vulnerability – is one dimension of vulnerability to multiple stressors and shocks, including abuse, social exclusion and natural hazards. It refers to inability of people, organizations and societies to withstand adverse impacts from multiple stressors to which they are exposed. (Peacock and Ragsdale, 1997)

6. Ordinance – an ordinance is a law passed by a municipal government. It constitutes the subject matter of municipal law. (Legal Dictionary)

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Informal Settlement

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Informal Settlers and Disasters

Overview and background.

More than a billion people live in marginal and informal settlements, many without access to basic services, and very frequently in high-risk areas. Their vulnerability to disaster events is often compounded by a lack of infrastructure, environmental degradation, and increasing challenges exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise. If there is so much technology for prediction and prevention, why do governments/donors continue to struggle with losses in the same communities, disaster after disaster? Evidence in the scientific community leads us to believe the answer to this question lies in the process of how human settlements are established and the underlying factors that encourage the population within those communities to establish in high risk areas.

Traditionally, this problem has been addressed by trying to relocate or upgrade the high risk communities. However, efforts to implement relocation and upgrade projects without multi-stakeholder participation and evaluation of complex social, economic and cultural factors that create and sustain such settlements often results in failure- the resistance of the population. This leads to a waste of government and donor resources and time with little to no significant improvement on the problem.

Over the course of three field research trips to the Philippines and Chile, one of our faculty/staff research teams (Dr. Cuadra, Dr. Dilling, and Ms. Samples, along with Dr. Brower from PA on two of the trips) delved into the benefits and dilemmas encountered during implementation of relocation and upgrade programs designed to safeguard informal settlements from natural phenomena. Their research effort was specifically focused on the social, cultural and economic reasons that influence informal settlers’ resistance, mistrust and ultimate abandonment of relocation sites and withdrawal from upgrade projects. The work included collection and analysis of qualitative data from in depth community and government/donor interviews, focus groups, archival research and field observations. Their findings have been presented and published in a number of venues, as seen at the bottom of this page.

Philippines 2013

informal settlements essay

Nicaragua 2013

informal settlements essay

A well-known approach to low income communities living in high risk areas is relocation either before or after a disaster event; according to Jha et al. (2010) relocation remains one of the most common project endeavors in post-disaster recovery. In San Francisco Libre, a community by Lake Managua in Nicaragua, the local government has undertaken a massive relocation project since the 2011 floods that left several coastal families without homes. In this study, we describe the current conditions and challenges for the relocated families and provide discussion about efforts by local government officials to provide much needed services on reduced budgets. This research benefits from field observations and interviews with government officials and families from the affected communities. Horwood and Phillips (2007) observes that in developing countries like Nicaragua, relocation projects do not succeed due to the rigid small design of relocation housing as well as lack of appropriate land and services. Knowledge about relocation practices and outcomes can help inform current practice and improve project development to provide effectively for low income families in developing countries.

informal settlements essay

Related Publications and Presentations

Cuadra, J and Dilling, J. “Relocation of Disaster-prone Informal Settlements: Development Opportunity or Perpetuation of Poverty?” ACSP 2015, USA Brower, R, Dilling, J, Cuadra, J. “Diverse Forms of Voluntary Action for Disaster Resilience: Evidence from the Philippines” ISTR-AP 2015 Japan Cuadra, J, Dilling, J, Brower, R and Samples, M. “Current Relocation Practices Targeting Disaster Prone Communities in Developing Countries: Case Study San Francisco Libre, Nicaragua”. TIEMS Japan 2014. Published: Journal of Disaster Research Vol.10No.2: Special Issue 2015 Dilling, J, Brower, R, Cuadra, J, and Samples, M. “Informal Settlers, Government Officials, and Disaster Vulnerability: Experience from the Philippines” ICCEM 2014 Portugal. Keynote Presentation. Published: Journal of Safety and Crisis Management Vol 4 2014 Brower. Ralph S., Dilling, Janet, Magno, Francisco, A, Evolving and Implementing a New Disaster Management Paradigm: The Case of the Philippines, Book Chapter in Disasters and Development (Kapucu and Liou, eds). 2013 Dilling, Janet, Brower, Ralph, Cuadra, Judith, and Samples, Malaika. “The Dilemma of Informal Settlers in the Philippines” 2013 Conference on Crisis and Emergency Management, Cheongiu, Korea. Dilling, Janet, Brower, Ralph, Cuadra, Judith, and Samples, Malaika. “Informal Settlers, Government Officials, and Disaster Vulnerability: Experience form the Philippines” Published: IREM Journal, Fall, 2013. Brower, Ralph, Dilling, Janet, Cuadra, Judith, Obaid, Zia, and Samples, Malaika, “ NGOs as Brokers: Negotiating the Space Between High Risk Human Settlements and Government Relocation Policies”, ARNOVA 2013. Cuadra, Judith, Samples, Malaika, Brower, Ralph, and Dilling, Janet, “Just and Safe Housing for Informal Settlers in the Developing World, 3rd International Conference on Disaster Management and Human Health, July 2013, A Coruna, Spain. Dilling, Janet, Brower, Ralph, Cuadra, Judith, and Samples, Malaika, “Key Factors that Prolong High Risk Settlements”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Interdisciplinary Studies of Natural and Social Sciences, Beijing, P.R. China, December, 2012. Cuadra, Judith, Brower, Ralph, Dilling, Janet, and Samples, Malaika, “High Risk Human Settlements: Tensions between Local Traditions and Government Policy”, Proceedings of the 2012 International Conference on Crisis and Emergency Management, Global Considerations of Crisis, Disasters, and Risk, Tallahassee, October 2012. Brower, Ralph S., Dilling, Janet, and Magno, Francisco, A., “Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Broader Development Goals in the Philippines”, Proceedings of the 2012 International Conference on Crisis and Emergency Management, Global Considerations of Crisis, Disasters, and Risk, Tallahassee, October 2012.

informal settlements essay

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Strategies for Improving Informal Settlements

Global Health Equity Research in Translation  brings academic research to broader audiences: decision makers, policy makers, advocacy groups, philanthropists, and journalists. The series draws on transdisciplinary health equity research completed with the support of the Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.

Strategies for Improving Informal Settlements,  Issue 2 of Global Health Equity Research in Translation Series, explores how inequities in affordable shelter are propelling the prevalence of informal settlements. Drs. Korydon Smith and Tomà Berlanda's book  Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda: Architectural Inquiries and Prospects for a Developing African City  provide recommendations for the improvement of informal settlements. Issue 2 highlights five key takeaways to improve informal settlements.

Policy Brief Issue 2 screenshot.


A billion people—one-sixth of the world’s population—live in informal settlements. 1 This number is forecast to double in the next decade, as increasing numbers of refugees from armed conflict and climate change seek safer environments, and as economic migrants continue to pursue opportunity in urbanizing areas. Though informal settlements offer at least some degree of promise to their residents, they also lack basic infrastructure to support health and wellness, including clean water, adequate sewage systems, durable housing, and public spaces for commerce and recreation. Additionally, informal settlements are frequently overcrowded and situated in political conflict zones, eco-sensitive environments, and locations vulnerable to extreme weather events (e.g., cyclones, hurricanes, and unusually-severe heat or cold) and natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes and flooding).

Responses to the Challenges of Informal Settlements are Varied and Evolving

For decades, governments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have responded to informal settlements with a range of approaches, including denying their existence, reacting with benign indifference, evicting residents, and demolishing settlements in whole or in part. More recently, it has been understood that eviction and demolition do not address the cultural and material realities that drive the creation and expansion of informal settlements; this trend has prompted increasing interest in improving informal settlements and attempting to formalize land tenure for residents of these communities.

As a consequence, to ameliorate informal settlements, local governments in LMICs have commissioned remediation plans from architectural and urban planning firms, many of which are from high resource countries. Unfortunately, in developing plans and interventions, many such firms are not mindful of the economic limitations of LMICs, and also do not take into account the lived-experiences of people who reside in informal settlements. While geographically focused, Korydon Smith and Tomà Berlanda’s book Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda: Architectural Inquiries and Prospects for a Developing African City 2  offers architects, planners, and policy makers strategies and principles—rather than prescriptions—to guide the improvement of informal settlements worldwide.

Photograph of steep hillside settlement in Kigali. Typical neighborhoods and buildings in Kigali are in strong contrast with other proposed plans and visions.

Photograph of steep hillside settlement in Kigali. Typical neighborhoods and buildings in Kigali are in strong contrast with other proposed plans and visions. Source: R. Campbell, 2011

Photograph of urban street with drainage ditch and entries to homes and businesses.

Photograph of urban street with drainage ditch and entries to homes and businesses. Source: K. Smith, 2011


Smith and Berlanda affirm a number of principles for improving informal settlements from previous research. John Lupala 3  has seven recommendations for neighborhood design in informal African cities: (1) contain city sprawl; (2) create tenure systems through land pooling and replotting; (3) effect participatory and incremental regularizing of “informal urban types” and properties; (4) implement localized planning and improved information management systems; (5) identify appropriate housing forms for the city’s future; (6) reduce plot sizes; and (7) regularize and improve exterior public spaces.

Additionally, Janice Perlman 4  sets forth eight recommendations for the improvement of informal settlements: (1) provide a variety of housing options in regards to tenure and payment, such as short-term rental, long-term lease, cohousing, and financed purchase; (2) invest in education, healthcare, and social services for people, not just in infrastructure and buildings; (3) involve the community in planning and ongoing decisions; (4) provide a stronger government presence in informal settlements; (5) continue improving and integrating previous government-sponsored projects and fringe neighborhoods; (6) prevent rogue developers and landlords from conducting fraudulent property sales and housing rental practices; (7) secure land and housing in anticipation of future migration and population growth; and (8) foster expansion and increased density according to the long-term needs of the city and the best interests of the residents.

Plan and perspectival sketch of urban informal commerce. Source: S. Annable, 2011.

Plan and perspectival sketch of urban informal commerce. Source: S. Annable, 2011

Plan Of Student-Proposed Neighbourhood With Public Spaces, Housing, And Retaining Walls. Integrated With The Retaining Walls, The First Phase Of Development, Are Public Amenities Such As Stairs, Restrooms, And Fresh Water. Source: S. Annable, 2011.

Plan of student-proposed neighborhood with public spaces, housing, and retaining walls. Integrated with the retaining walls, the first phase of development, are public amenities such as stairs, restrooms, and fresh water. Source: S. Annable, 2011



This brief is extracted from research originally published by the University of Arkansas Press.

Dr. Lisa Vahapoğlu

Recommended Citation

Vahapoğlu, Lisa. Strategies for Improving Informal Settlements.  Global Health Equity Research in Translation . Eds. Frimpong Boamah, Kordas, and Raja. Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity, October 2019

Original Research

Smith, Korydon H., and Tomà Berlanda. I nterpreting Kigali, Rwanda: Architectural Inquiries and Prospects for a Developing African City . The University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, 2018.

Series Editors

Dr. Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, Dr. Katarzyna Kordas, and Dr. Samina Raja

Design and Production

Nicole Little and Jessica Scates

[1] With less of a derogatory connotation than alternatives such as squatter settlement, shantytown, favela, or ghetto, “informal settlement” is the preferred contemporary term to refer to unplanned, improvised human settlements without legal tenure systems and public infrastructure.

[2] Smith, Korydon H., and Tomà Berlanda. Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda: Architectural Inquiries and Prospects for a Developing African City. The University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, 2018.

[3] John M. Lupala,  Urban Types in Rapidly Urbanizing Cities: Analysis of Formal and Informal Settlements in Dar es Salaam  (PhD dissertation: Kungl Tekniska Högskolan [Royal Institute of Technology], Stockholm, Sweden, 2002, p. 250.

[4] Janice Perlman,  Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro , Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010.

[5] Smith and Berlanda point out that the term informal settlements refers to the absence of a higher order governing the settlement—for example, governance, land titling, and a predetermined urban plan. However, the word informal also implies an absence of form, custom, and order, none of which are necessarily true.

No. 28 / Can Designers Improve Life in Non-Formal Cities?

Improving informal settlements: ideas from latin america, christian werthmann , john beardsley.

informal settlements essay

United Nations estimates suggest that nearly one billion people now live in slums worldwide—one-sixth of the planet’s population. Without concerted action, the number is expected to double by 2030. Categorical terms like slum , however, can disguise significant cultural and economic distinctions among low-income settlements. Variously known as informal or non-formal cities , squatter settlements , or shantytowns , these communities differ dramatically in size, character, age, and level of political and social organization; they are found in both rural and urban areas, although they are increasingly associated with the world’s largest cities, especially in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Informal urban settlements appear in city centers and on their peripheries; they result both from traditional squatting and from a kind of “pirate urbanism”: they don’t conform to zoning or service regulations and are enabled by bribes, populist governments, or property speculators who hope for eventual regularization and compensation for their investment. Notwithstanding their variations, however, these places share some characteristics: inadequate housing, insufficient living space, insecure land tenure, and lack of access to basic services, especially clean water and sanitation. 

In recent years, prevailing strategies for addressing non-formal settlements have shifted away from large-scale slum clearance and relocation, which have been demonstrated to cause massive social disruptions. The approach favored today is on-site upgrading and improvement, with the goal of integrating low-income communities into their larger urban contexts. There may be something inevitable about this: there are so many informal settlements around the world and many of them are so big and so old that it is becoming impractical to think of removing them entirely, especially since sufficient vacant land is scarce. Improving informal settlements, though more cumbersome and arguably more expensive than building right in the first place, has the advantage of leaving intact the economic and social networks that residents have created for themselves. As yet, however, there is no clear set of best practices for these upgrades, which range from small “acupunctural” insertions to expansive infrastructural improvements, from familiar government-led programs to designer-initiated projects. 

The work presented in the pages that follow suggests the various ways that contemporary designers in Latin America are attempting to upgrade informal settlements physically without destroying them socially, saving what they can of their physical structure while alleviating environmental and social problems ranging from inadequate public space and housing to unemployment, insecure land tenure, and poor sanitation. The selection uses landscape as the particular lens through which to examine these settlements: their occupation of marginal lands, including floodplains, ravines, and steep slopes; their proximity to damaged or toxic sites, including sewage canals, industrial facilities, and landfills; their typical separation from urban landscape infrastructure, whether roads, transportation, sewers, water supply, or storm-water management; their severe environmental, public health, and security problems; and their lack of public facilities for economic, cultural, or recreational activities. Landscape is conceived both as the primary problem in these communities and as the main opportunity for intervention and improvement. Built work and proposed projects by both recognized and emerging designers are included in this selection. 

Why focus on Latin America? Beyond geographical and cultural coherence and shared colonial and postcolonial histories, there are several reasons to focus on this region. Primary is the fact that some of the world’s most interesting current efforts to improve the conditions of non-formal cities are occurring there. The restoration of civilian rule in some countries and the rise of populist governments in others have moved the plight of the poor forward on the political agenda. Growing economies have provided improved financial means to consider community-improvement programs, despite significant and in many places widening gaps between the rich and the poor. Many of Latin America’s largest cities, including Mexico City, Buenos Aires, São Paolo, and Rio de Janeiro, have among the world’s largest urban GDPs when measured by “purchasing power parity” exchange rates. At the same time, Latin America has some of the world’s highest “Gini coefficients,” which measure disparity in income and wealth distribution. Squatter settlements in Latin America would thus seem to be as much an expression of inequality as of absolute poverty. And although this region has some of the world’s highest rates of urbanization, slum growth today in many parts of the continent is slowing, according to the UN-Habitat report, State of the World’s Cities 2006/7 . 1 Settlements are consolidating, and many countries are beginning to provide residents with access to land tenure and services. All in all, Latin America represents a laboratory for slum upgrading that might provide a model for other parts of the world. 

What can we learn from this work? To begin with, we need to acknowledge the difficulties of generalizing about it. Differing topographies, social and economic conditions, cultural traditions, and levels of physical development all require different strategies. Moreover, some communities are safe to work in; others are zones of conflict between police and drug dealers that make it all but impossible for designers to work. The strong involvement of government at all levels facilitates improvements in some countries, such as Brazil. Charismatic leaders can catalyze efforts in others—as in the Colombian cities of Bogotá and Medellín. In some places, how­ever, the relative absence of government leadership makes upgrades more problematic; in those cities, designers are taking a more activist or entrepreneurial approach, generating theoretical projects or funding their own initiatives, often in conjunction with non-governmental and community-based organizations. 

In any event, working in the informal sector requires designers and their critics to focus as much on process as on product, since there is often more complex thought in these projects than is evident in the final built work. The efforts of the Caracas firm Arqui 5 are emblematic of this fact: they developed elaborate and well-conceived plans for upgrading the entire San Rafael-Unido neighborhood—part of the vast La Vega barrio—including a new “urban facade” that would provide slope stabilization while offering commercial development, a preschool, apartments, and a community center. The project won a gold medal from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in 2006, but only several sets of stairs linked with small public spaces were actually built. Construction of the community center was halted midway—mostly because of political gridlock. 2 The project was notable for community involvement in the design process—75% of residents had to approve (in writing) the upgrades—but it also reveals the importance of engaging all the stakeholders in a community, from neighborhood associations and community-based organizations to the highest levels of government. In the absence of someone to build consensus, designers might be forgiven for finding this too time-consuming and demanding—not to mention professionally and financially unrewarding.

This is to say: We need to recognize the many ways that this work can be problematic. It addresses numerous economic, environmental, infrastructural, and social failures of recent urban policies; it often involves the messy procedures of community design and the compromises of political action. At the same time, it is arguably complicit in neoliberal policies that favor small self-help initiatives, micro-enterprises, and market-based solutions over more ambitious, state-sponsored programs that might have a larger impact. In addition, it is not yet clear whether upgrading can achieve significant permanent improvements or will merely perpetuate social and spatial inequalities, with large percentages of the population packed into disproportionately small areas with still limited services. 

Moreover, upgrades to informal settlements are invariably partial, provisional, and experimental. They rely on the idea of replicability: solutions developed for one site can be used at another. But given the scale of informal settlements and their considerable variation, can success be measured by the mere potential for replication, or should projects be considered beneficial only when replicability is proven? Many of these projects depend on the notion that small-scale improvements will inspire other, larger upgrades, both individual and public. This theory might be dependable in the formal city, but it has yet to be proven valid for informal contexts, where anxiety about tenure and safety will surely hinder subsequent investments. Significant improvement in low-income communities can be achieved only through a combination of small-scale, local initiatives and massive upgrades to sanitation, transportation, and employment infrastructures, which have to be orchestrated at the national and international levels. Absent the larger initiatives, the small-scale insertions might legitimately be criticized as appeasements more than substantial improvements.

We need to continue to question the assumptions upon which this work is based. For instance, is it really appropriate to introduce elements of the formal city into the non-formal context? Is public space as conceived in the formal city relevant to informal settlements? Or should it be reconceptualized? Passive recreation of the sort that characterizes landscapes in the formal city is not a priority in informal contexts. Public space can even be considered dangerous: In San Rafael-Unido, residents conveyed to Arqui 5 their anxieties that new public space would simply provide more opportunities for vagrants and drug dealers. Facilities for active recreation are generally more suitable to informal settlements than spaces for passive occupation, especially in places with large populations of teenagers with limited educational and employment opportunities. But we might have to push our conceptions of public space even beyond this, to a notion of productive space, including market facilities, community kitchens and laundries, and places for cultural expression—like Rio’s samba schools. And we need to think about long-term maintenance and community identification with upgrade projects. Facilities that don’t inspire a sense of community ownership are soon degraded or vandalized. Spaces that generate economic benefits typically inspire a keener support, as do projects that contribute to environmental improvement in some way, like river cleaning or reforestation programs. 

Whatever the problems and limitations of these upgrading initiatives, given the current economic and political climate, they might be a designer’s most viable mode of practice in the non-formal city. There is certainly much to admire in this work. Particularly laudable is the fact that its focus mostly has shifted away from simple, one-dimensional projects toward programs that address multiple conditions and needs. Whereas designers and public officials might once have thought just in terms of improved housing, many now recognize that providing housing by itself isn’t an adequate response: It has to be paired with improvements in transportation, job training, health, and safety. In Bogotá, the focus has been on equalizing rights to the city through improved facilities and circulation within barrios and express-bus links from the barrios to employment and recreation opportunities in the formal city. In São Paolo, the emphasis has been on sanitary upgrades to settlements surrounding the city’s reservoirs to improve public health in both formal and informal communities. Overall, it is increasingly apparent that landscape is a crucial element in these projects: Upgrading is less a matter of individual buildings than of creating habitable environments and improved urban ecologies.

Where do we go from here? We have two chief areas of concern. One is the severe competition between the expansion needs of informal cities and the protection of ecological and economic resources like farmlands, wetlands, and preservation areas. Witness, for instance, the squatter invasion of the forested slopes of Tijuca National Park in Rio or of the fertile farmlands around Bogotá. How are we to balance a growing population’s right to shelter with the aims of environmental management? Our second concern is about the wisdom of conventional upgrades during a time of climate change: If we bring electricity to hundreds of millions of slum dwellers, for example, should it come from coal-fired plants? Or can we skip antiquated technologies and make low-income settlements models of sustainable development? Already they have smaller environmental footprints than formal cities: They are denser and more walkable with fewer cars and more public transportation. Can the best qualities of these places be retained, even as they are upgraded? We need to work in anticipation of future conditions and constraints. 

From the perspective of professional practice, can design work in these communities become self-sustaining? Much of the work is now pro bono. But can and should some other model be developed? When federal programs and international lending agencies are involved, the work can be remunerative. Absent that, it is fair for designers to wonder if they will ever be adequately compensated for their time and effort, especially given the amount of political and community-contact work that is often required. Pedagogy needs to be retooled as well, to shift more educational focus from the formal to the informal, from the developed world to the developing, especially those areas in Africa and Asia where growth in the informal sector is highest.

Our thinking here is exploratory, raising questions more than providing answers. As difficult and complex as conditions are in low-income communities, they provide clues to their own improvement: Residents of non-formal cities often display cultural adaptations and survival strategies that can guide future interventions. Designers are beginning to be able to give spatial form to the environmental, social, and economic ambitions of these communities, helping to marshal the financial investment and political will to begin their transformation. In sum, this work explores the relationship between social ethics and creativity in design culture. It advances the hopeful thesis that impoverished contexts do not have to result in a poverty of imagination. No one project is perfect and complete in itself; many are flawed. The important point here is to get the ideas out in the hope of starting to define best practices. Apart from climate change, there are few greater challenges to widespread planetary health and security than the vast proliferation of non-formal settlements. And, as with addressing climate change, there is no time to waste. 

1 . “Latin America and the Caribbean has [sic] almost completed its urban transition; urbanization rates are stabilizing and slum growth rates in the region are slowing down… . In the late 1980s and early 1990s the process of ‘re-democratization’ resulted in the adoption of progressive policies aimed at promoting more inclusive governance and reducing inequalities.” Brazil and Mexico, for instance, have very low slum growth rates (0.34 and 0.49% per year respectively). However, Peru, Haiti, Chile, and Nicaragua are on the opposite end of the spectrum and have relatively high slum growth rates of between 3 and 8%. UN-Habitat, State of the world’s cities 2006 / 7. The Millennium Development Goals and urban sustainability: 30 years of shaping the habitat agenda (London: Earthscan, 2006), 30. 

2 . For more on this project, see http:// www.holcimfoundation.org/Portals/1/docs/ 1Awardsbook_0506_pp38-47.pdf .

We want to express our appreciation to our students over the past three years, who have helped us greatly with our research into informal communities. We are particularly grateful to the members of KDI, especially Jennifer Toy and Chelina Odbert, whose experiences in the Kibera settlement in Nairobi have helped shape these remarks.

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Nairobi Informal Settlement Study


Nairobi is the capital city and administrative headquarter of the republic of Kenya, in East Africa. The city is situated 1 0 South and 36 0 East, 87 miles off the Equator. The city is at an altitude of 5,512 feet about sea level and has an area of 266 square miles (Anyamba, 2011, p. 22). Like numerous other cities in the third world economies, Nairobi has witnessed a massive population explosion in the last 4 decades. The city’s population grew from less than 20000 people in the early 60s to about 4 million at the moment (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2001, p. 10).

At a population growth rate of over 6% per annum, Nairobi ranks among the cities with the highest population growth rate in the world. The population growth rate in the city is exceedingly high compared to an average of 3 percent per annum for cities in less developed economies and 2 percent for the global urban growth rate (Ooi & Phua, 2007, p. 27). More than 60 percent of the city’s population lives in low income and informal settlements. According to a UN report, Nairobi’s urban poor lives on less than $1.5 a day with an average monthly income of $ 78. The income is undeniably low bearing in mind the per capita poverty line of one dollar a day (UN-HABITAT, 2006, p. 6).

The city is a paradox. It is among the most significant economic hubs in Africa and contributes nearly three-quarters of the GDP to the economy (Anyamba, 2011, p. 23). Nairobi is also the headquarters of three principal UN organs-UNDP, UNEP and UN-HABITAT. The latter is a human settlement program, which is obligated to promote sustainable cities with enough housing facilities (Anyamba, 2011, p. 25). The city has met several conditions for transparency and good governance; For instance, it has well-recognized institutions, leaders are elected through a democratic process and promotes media freedom. Yet, the majority of the city residents (over 60 percent) lives in informal settlements or slums. The incongruity in the city about shelter and delivery of fundamental service makes it an excellent study area. The study aims to explore the problem of informal settlements in the city of Nairobi from the socio-economic and political points of view (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 13).

Informal settlements in the city

The city’s informal settlement is among the most congested, unsafe and filthy in the continent. There are about 200 slums in the city but the worst of the worst is the Kibera slums situated 4 miles from the central business district (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2001, p. 12). According to Anyamba (2011, p. 22), Kibera is probably the worst informal settlement in the world in terms of sanitation, insecurity and population. The slum houses nearly a quarter of the city population (1.2 million people) in less than 650 acres of land. The living condition in Nairobi slums is extremely harsh and overwhelmingly intolerant.

Besides Kibera other prominent city informal settlements include Mukuru, Mathare, Dandora, Soweto and Kawangware (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2001, p. 13). The deprivations faced in these informal settlements are tremendous: extreme congestion, dreadful hygiene, chronic illnesses, undernourishment, and permanent insecurity (Makachia, 2010, p. 3). Most of the residents in these slums are tenants with only 10% of the residents owning the houses they reside in. Life in the informal settlement is extremely hard. The population density is as high as 1500 people per square hectare. A number of them live in shacks that are very small in size.

Basic amenities are extremely scarce or do not even exist (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 13). As many as 500 individuals normally share basic facilities, for instance, toilets and bathrooms. Besides wearing down human dignity and a sense of worth, sharing these facilities also causes health and environmental problems (Ooi & Phua, 2007, p. 29). Social amenities/services such as water, power, fuel, schools, hospitals, inadequate housing, and credit facilities are scarce, and the available ones are charged exorbitantly. Cash flow among slum residents is tight; average monthly expenditure hardly ever surpasses $40, of which three quarter is allocated to paying rent. Employment opportunities necessary to sustain such high expenditure are hardly available (UN-HABITAT, 2006, p. 9).

The population density in Nairobi city slums is estimated to be approximately 1500 people per square hectare compared to 270 people in Manhattan, New York. Something important to note is that residents in Manhattan live in large story buildings with ample space, whereas structures in Nairobi slums consist mainly of single or two stories made of iron sheets (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira-Gitau, 2001, p. 14). The structures and the population density sometimes are not the problem, but the unplanned nature of the buildings (Davis, 2006, p. 3).

The general lack of planning in the informal settlement has created numerous challenges for the residents. For instance, the random position of the structures, lack of investment in the infrastructure, and the lack of municipal services have led to countless structures being cut off from electricity, water pipes and roads (UN-HABITAT, 2006, p. 8). The connectivity problem poses service delivery challenges, for instance, waste disposal, management of security matters, emergency response and access to other fundamental services. In other words, whereas high structure density can explain the lack of infrastructure within the informal settlement, high population density within the slums does not validate inadequately or lack of infrastructure (Makachia, 2010, p. 22).

Socioeconomic and Political Factors Behind the Informal Settlement

According to K’Akumu and Olima (2007, p. 91), the preconditions for an informal settlement began even before Kenya attained its independence. Before independence, the colonial government limited the number of natives moving into the city. However, after independence, the ban was lifted but the settlement patterns were reclassified. These settlement patterns created a divide between the rich (mostly whites) and the poor (mostly Africans). Low-income earners were located in the East while the rest of the city was preserved for the rich. These settlement patterns have virtually remained the same up to date (K’Akumu &Olima, 2007, p. 92).

Before the ban was lifted on the number of Africans migrating into Nairobi, the city’s population was less than 300000. However, this number has increased to almost 4 million since then (K’Akumu &Olima, 2007, p. 94). The rising demand for housing units due to the high number of people moving into the city has not been equalled by a sound approach of providing enough houses (Majale & Payne, 2004, p. 2).

As a result, the increase in the number of people migrating into the city gave rise to informal settlements (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2001, p. 45). Syagga, Mitulla and Karira (2001, p. 46) attribute this to a lack of sufficient financial resources and poor management. However, corruption in the city council, spatial segregation within the city and the probability to focus on land, housing and basic services imply that insufficient financial resources and poor management are products of political manipulations (Kanyinga, 2006, p. 5).

The country’s constitution requires that before any land is allocated, it should be advertised and sold to the highest bidder. However, due to Kenya’s system of political patronage, the ability to acquire land does not depend on the constitutional process but political consideration (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2001, p. 47). As a result, land allocation procedures in most parts of the country including the city of Nairobi have characteristically been circumvented to benefit a small group of elites at the expense of the general public (Kanyinga, 2006, p. 6).

Transparency International refers to the distorted allocation of land in the country as land grabbing (Transparency International, 2003, p. 2). Ndung’u land commission set up in 2003 found that more than 200000 illegal land title deeds had been created since independence and the reason behind the illegal allocation of land was political (Ndung’u, 2006, P. 3). The illegal allocation of land in Nairobi city has impacted the real estate market. It has led to skyrocketing land prices and an increase in illegal structures (Kanyinga, 2006, p. 8). The problem of land grabbing and the spiralling land prices have resulted in nearly three-quarters of the city residents living in very congested areas with no access or inadequate services (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 15).

The provincial administration is mandated to supervise informal settlements (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2001, p. 78). With no jurisdiction, they are reported to allocate land to individuals in the informal settlement through bribery. Slums in Nairobi city are also known as informal settlements not only because of poor housing structures but also because of the illegal allocation of land (Ndung’u, 2006, P. 3). Due to the illegal allocation of land, most of the residents in the informal settlement are rent paying tenants (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 15). Therefore, the city’s informal settlement operates like the official real estate market.

The best example is the Kibera slum which is currently the largest slum in Africa (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 15). Most of the people who own houses in this slum are wealthy absentee landlords (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 80).

Kanya argued that profitability has also contributed to the spiralling of informal settlements in the city of Nairobi (Kanyinga, 2006, p. 9). He stresses that most of the housing units in Nairobi slums are owned by a few wealthy individuals. For instance, less than five percent of the landlords own more than 25 percent of the houses in Kibera slums. This shows a high level of ownership concentration (Kanyinga, 2006, p. 5).

In addition, the increasing population in Nairobi’s informal settlement imply that landlords, circumventing official laws, take full advantage of their income by developing more housing units. As a result, the number of housing units in the informal settlements have gone up to as high as 300 units per hectare. Furthermore, the widespread building of illegal extensions in the formerly planned estates is nearly turning the whole city into an informal settlement (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 80).

The profitability of the formal settlement has also prompted the wealthy landlords to build structures that are below architectural standards to reduce costs and increase rents. Thus, greed for money has also acted as an incentive to offer poor quality housing with inadequate or no basic faculties (UN-HABITAT, 2006, p. 6). Despite the poor conditions of the informal settlement structures, their rents are relatively high (UNDP, 2007, p. 12).

According to the (UN-HABITAT, 2006, p. 7), tenants in the informal settlement normally spend roughly a quarter of their monthly income on rent. Rent comes second to food in the informal settlement. If the country’s law governing rents was applied in the informal settlement, the rates will go down by more than 70 percent. This means that the high cost of low-quality housing in the informal settlement allows the landlords to make 100 profits without tax (UNDP, 2007, p. 12).

The relationship between the structure owners and the provincial administration is cordial; however relationship between the tenants and the structure owners is usually contradictory and is marred by supremacy battle. This is caused by large disparity in the social class. As already been mentioned in the study, most landlords are wealthy and politically connected; while the tenants are poor and can hardly make the ends meet (Gulyani, Talukdar & Porter, 2006, p. 14). To strengthen their economic power the structure owners generally use to approaches: First, is collecting rents through agents. Second, is the use of ethnic mismatch among tenants to minimise preferential treatment on rent payment and to extort exorbitant rent prices (Gulyani, Talukdar & Porter, 2006, p. 14).

In overall, the study shows that the continued existence of informal settlement in the city of Nairobi is mainly attributed to a lack of government intervention on the subject of land, housing and fundamental services, through provision or enacting crucial laws. Although the spiralling of informal settlement has been tackled by slum upgrading programs, the initiative is not enough. The most significant approach is transformation of the prevailing power structures through a political process (Syagga, Mitulla & Karira, 2002, p. 85).

The issue of housing is one of the greatest challenges in the city of Nairobi. Nairobi has some of the worst informal settlements/slums in the continent and probably in the world. The city’s informal settlement holds more than 60 percent of Nairobi’s population. Housing problems in the city of Nairobi started way back even before Kenya attained its independence. The colonialists introduced segregation in terms of social class and race which has persisted up to date. The conditions in the informal settlements are regarded as extremely deplorable and deprives the residents some of their fundamental needs and services. The continued persistence of informal settlement is attributed to distorted allocation of land and housing to a few elite groups by the political class at the expense of the general public.

The illegal allocation of land has not only concentrated land in hands of a few but also led to the increase in the value of land. The exorbitant prices of land have kept it out of reach from the general public who are poor. Therefore, most of the residents in Nairobi’s informal settlements do not own houses/ structures they live in. On the contrary, the houses in the informal settlements are owned by absentee landlords who are rich and have a political connection. The absentee landlords will do anything to strengthen and retain their economic power. For this reason, the main solution to the current spiralling of the informal sector is the transformation of the prevailing power structures through a political process.

Anyamba, T J 2011, ‘Informal Urbanism in Nairobi’, Built Environment’, vol . 37, no. 1, pp. 22-43.

Davis, M 2006, Planet of Slums, Verso, New York.

Gulyani, S, Talukdar, D & Porter, C 2006, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi Slums , World Bank, Washington DC.

K’Akumu, OA & Olima, WHA 2007, ‘The dynamics and implications of residential segregation in Nairobi’, Habitat International , vol. 31, pp. 87-99.

Kanyinga, K 2006, Governance, Institutions and Inequality in Kenya, In Readings on Inequality in Kenya: Sectoral Dynamics and Perspectives , Society for International Development, Nairobi.

Majale, M & Payne, G 2004, The Urban Housing Manual: Making Regulatory  Frameworks Work for the Poor, Earthscan, London.

Makachia, P A 2010, Transformation of Housing in Nairobi – Dweller-Initiated  Transformations in Formal Housing in Nairobi Estates with Case Studies of Kaloleni and Buru-Buru Estates, Architecture and Building Science, Nairobi.

Ndung’u, PN 2006, Tackling Land Related Corruption in Kenya , World bank, Washington DC.

Ooi, G L & Phua, K H 2007, ‘Urbanization and Slum Formation’, Journal of Urban Health, vol. 1 , pp. 27-33.

Syagga, P M, Mitulla, W & Karira, G S 2001, Nairobi Slum Upgrading Initiatives: Nairobi Situation Analysis, GOK/UNCHS (Habitat), Nairobi.

Syagga, P, Mitulla, W & Karira, GS 2002, Nairobi Situational Analysis Supplementary Study: A Rapid Economic Appraisal of Rents in Slums and Informal Settlements, Government of Kenya/UN-HABITAT, Nairobi.

Transparency International 2003, Cleaning up the mess at lands , Longhorn Publishers, Nairobi.

UNDP 2007, Human Development Report , Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

UN-HABITAT 2006, State of the world’s cities 2006/7: The Millennium Development Goals and urban sustainability, Earthscan, London.

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