Insight into the Urban Poor
“Slums are the worst, most degrading manifestations of urban poverty, deprivation, and exclusion in modern world. And it is a fact that today we have both the technical know-how (such as Geographical Information Systems undreamed of in the 19th century) the power and the resources to plan effectively for the target established in the Millennium Declaration.
As we enter the 21st century, urban planning faces the challenge of harmonizing the global norms with locally distinct cultural conditions. While the broad framework for planning can have universal appeal, societies and countries should simultaneously be able to develop their own proposals and solutions. Rapid change, driven mainly by business and technology, has to be tempered by culture and local specificities.”
“New and more participatory approaches are also needed that involve the explicit engagement of poor and marginalized populations in considering how their future might evolve."
"The future of the urban poor can, therefore, be good if the right program and the right attitudes are in place. Slums should be seen as places that can grow and upgrade, and also as places that can be engines of growth themselves rather than pools of cheap labor. As we observed in Dharavi, slums can create industries that can even be competitive enough to export."
"If we compare the worst condition of the present urban poor to those of the past, then we see an improving world. If we, however, look at the gap between the condition of the poorest and the richest in the world, then we might see a decreasing trend. So, it depends more or less on how we want to see and perceive the world."
"While the past decade has generated much new information on the characteristics of urban poverty, there are still major knowledge gaps. A major challenge has been the lack of micro data such as household surveys at a level which allows for sufficient disaggregation at the intra-city level. Some of the topics where relatively little is known include the dynamics of urban poverty over time, constraints to employment for the urban poor, intra-household dynamics in slum areas, the dynamics of new migrants, and careful evaluation of programs and policies aimed at urban poverty reduction.”