From Slums to Sustainable Communities: The Transformative Power of Secure Tenure
This issue paper by Habitat for Humanity International and Cities Alliance argues that transforming slums into sustainable communities is a key component of the new urban agenda, and provision of secure tenure is a key catalyst to achieve this.
The key messages of the paper are:
- Asia-Pacific’s population of 4.3 billion is rapidly urbanising and countries are struggling to keep pace with the demand for housing. Urbanisation represents not a threat but an opportunity for economic development and for the uplifting of communities. Addressing security of tenure presents an excellent entry point to tackle the problem of urban slum housing.
- Security of tenure is often mistakenly understood as the legal right of ownership of land, but there is a continuum of land rights, from the least secure to the most secure with many examples of successful implementation of methods for slum improvement in the region.
- Forcible slum clearance and involuntary relocation have been repeatedly demonstrated to fail and have far-reaching negative impacts. Successful projects prioritise upgrading slums in situ. They have put the community in the lead and brought them together with municipalities, professionals, the private sector and nongovernment organisations to solve urban housing problems together.
- People-public-private partnerships are important and necessary alliances for addressing the development needs of the most vulnerable and poor in complex urban contexts, especially in the context of limited capacity and resources.
- Increasing security of tenure creates incentives for progressive improvements in slums and housing which leads to sustainable communities and aids urban resiliency by fostering communities that are better prepared to cope with disasters. However, a holistic, multi-sectoral approach is required for true transformation.