Slum Revitalization

June 25, 2007

The Globe and Mail has an article about a plan to revitalize one of the slums in Mumbai, India (sorry, i am mobile linkless). The article has quotes from an architect who believes his plan can revitalize slums all over the world. The plan calls for tearing down the shanty towns and create new development with guaranteed housing for the existing slum residents mixed in with high end housing. In my mind there is one key issue, how do you distribute the land ownership rights among the slum residents? It is the key problem. Ok, maybe only i think of it in terms of a land ownership problem. The key problem is how to define who a rightful resident is. How many single level shacks will suddenly sprout multiple levels depending on the rules? How many non-residents will move into the slum just before the census? How many angry and potentially violent people will there be after they find out that they do not qualify. It is a hard problem to solve. Really hard.