BETTER CITIES, BETTER LIFE by Amnesty International

Don’t deny one billion people’s rights

 source :

Every year on the first Monday of October, the world is asked to respect World Habitat Day and reflect on the state of our towns and cities. The UN has set the theme for this year as ‘Better City, Better Life’. For the one billion people who live in slums and informal settlements, this hope can only be realized if governments stop denying them their human rights.

From Europe to Africa, Amnesty International has documented how governments violate the right to adequate housing and carry out forced evictions of people living in slums and informal settlements, driving them deeper into poverty. Forced evictions often result in people losing not just their homes, but also their possessions, their social networks, and their access to work and services.

People living in such marginalized and impoverished communities, in both the richest and poorest countries of the world, talk of the same experiences of daily human rights violations. Continue reading


SLUM STORIES by Amnesty International


Personal Stories: What Rights Mean on the Ground



Several attempts were made to evict Maria Sebastião António, a 31-year-old mother of three, her family and more than 500 neighbours from their homes in Banga Wé, near Luanda, in order to make room for the Nova Vida (New Life) housing project. This is her story.

“I have lived in Banga Wé all my life. I was born here. From 2004 until 2006 there were demolitions here. We were not even warned about the demolitions. We were just taken by surprise. We had to go to work every day and never knew whether we would find our homes when we returned.

“I used to have a house made of [concrete] blocks, but it was destroyed in the demolitions in November 2005. I was pregnant with my youngest child at the time. They destroyed my house made of blocks but did not touch the zinc sheets used for the roof, so we used them to build a house of zinc… they came back about six days later to destroy the zinc houses as well…I was taken to the police station because I resisted the demolitions and was threatened. A police officer said to me, “The police do not beat on the streets; they beat in the esquadra [police station].” Luckily another police officer stopped him from beating me.

“Before the elections in 2008, the Director of the Nova Vida housing project called a meeting and told us we would be moved to new houses in Zango III, but nothing has happened. We don’t have water. Our children are not allowed to study. The Nova Vida School is not even allowing our children to register. The other schools are too far away. The worst thing is that there is still no solution to this problem.” Continue reading


Reality tour and travel in Slum?

Do you ever think about slum can be a destination for the tourists? Dharavi in India give you the chance to see how the life of slum’s residents is.  The highlights of the slum sightseeing are:

  • recycling area: old computer, parts and plastic come from all over the world to Dharavi to be recycled.
  • rooftop visit: the tin hutments that house so many human lives stretch on as far as you can see, and birds screech overhead in the blue sky.
  • biscuit bakery: tea biscuit that is very famous in Mumbai
  • Popaddom making: Watch the women of Dharavi make popaddoms, the essential appetizer of any Indian meal, by baking them on wooden baskets that are turned upside-down.
  • Visit to a resident’s house: Gain an understanding of how the incredible people of Dharavi live
  • Kumbharwada pottery colony: Watch artisans create all types of pots out of unfired, sundried clay.
  • Kindergarten and community centre: Visit the school and young adult centre that are supported by the tour. Continue reading

Myths and Realities about Slum Upgrading

Myths and Realities about Slum Upgrading

Myths Realities
The poor are better off in rural areas than in slums, so their migration to urban areas can and should be stopped.
  • Rural to urban migration is a natural, inevitable and irreversible process. Many governments have tried to slow it down, divert it or stop it – all have failed. The rural poor move to urban areas primarily to improve their economic and social opportunities. With good policies, urban growth is essential to reducing rural poverty.
Slums should be demolished to stop their formation
  • Slum demolitions fail. Governments that use mass, forced evictions and demolition only made matters worse and, in every case, do not stop new slums from forming.
Relocating slum residents to housing projects on the outskirts of the city solves the slum “problem.”
  • Resettling slum residents far from their original homes, even if they are to apartment blocks, is not usually viable. The economic and social disruption costs are too high.
Apartment buildings provide a better urban solution. Apartments house more families on less land so they are also cheaper.
  • Studies demonstrate that the residential densities of high- and mid-rise apartments are equal to, or not much greater than that of typical low-income settlements.
Valuable land in the city centre should not be for existing slum dwellers – it should be developed for high-value, high-density housing and businesses.
  • Slumdwellers in city centres are typically long-time residents and, with good policies and good planning, can often be successfully integrated. Continue reading

Policy Framework for Slum Upgrading Programme

Policy Framework for 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 stake-holders make and uphold the commitment to upgrade slums because is in the best interest of the city and nation. Continue reading

Slum Upgrading

source: Slum upgrading in Brazil from Cities Without Slum

What is slum upgrading?

Slum upgrading is a process through which informal areas are gradually improved, formalised and incorporated into the city itself, through extending land, services and citizenship to slum dwellers.  It involves providing slum dwellers with the economic, social, institutional and community services available to other citizens. These services include legal (land tenure), physical (infrastructure), social (crime or education, for example) or economic.

Slum upgrading is not simply about water or drainage or housing. It is about putting into motion the economic, social, institutional and community activities that are needed to turn around downward trends in an area. These activities should be undertaken cooperatively among all parties involved—residents, community groups, businesses as well as local and national authorities if applicable.

The activities tend to include the provision of basic services such as housing, streets, footpaths, drainage, clean water, sanitation, and sewage disposal. Often, access to education and health care are also part of upgrading.

In addition to basic services, one of the key elements of slum upgrading is legalising or regularising properties and bringing secure land tenure to residents.

Ultimately, upgrading efforts aim to create a dynamic in the community where there is a sense of ownership, entitlement and inward investment in the area. Continue reading