در مقابل شانس : بازسازی خیابان پر جمعیت در مومبای نئولیبرالی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|247||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10928 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Cities, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 73–85
In urban India, slum policies have become increasingly reliant on the market and on local ‘self-help’ agencies, a trend in step with the neoliberal turn across the developing world. The emphasis on local solutions is particularly interesting because the challenge of urban slums is now widely acknowledged to be one of global proportions. This paper examines the impact of this changing institutional environment on slum rehabilitation efforts in Mumbai. It provides an overview of Mumbai’s slums and slum policies and it presents a case study of a rehabilitation project in Ganesh Nagar D, a small community in the southern part of the city. While the case of Ganesh Nagar D appears a striking success, it is shown that it was only in part based in new policy schemes and that it in fact violated some of the main tenets of neoliberal policies. It is concluded that some new opportunities for rehabilitation strategies have arisen but that the fundamental conditions of neoliberalism in urban India are unlikely to be conducive to large-scale successes.
An estimated one billion people worldwide live in urban slums, the majority of them in the less-developed world. In the path-breaking UN-Habitat Report Challenge of the Slums (2003), Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan warned that: “Without concerted action on the part of municipal authorities, national governments, civil society actors and the international community, the number of slum dwellers is likely to increase in most developing countries. And if no serious action is taken, the number of slum dwellers worldwide is projected to rise over the next 30 years to about 2 billion”. The UN-Habitat report is one of numerous publications in the past few years that alert us to the gravity of the situation (e.g., Davis, 2006 and Neuwirth, 2004). With rapid and continued urbanization in the less-developed world and in the absence of effective policies, precarious living conditions in cities may well become the main challenge to human development in future decades (also see UN-Habitat, 2006).1 The growing recognition of the global problems of slums in recent years coincides with neoliberal public policy shifts among national governments, major supranational institutions such as the World Bank, and many smaller non-governmental, private organizations. Development policy agendas (rural or urban) have been reshaped in ways that de-emphasize central state control and that shift responsibilities to local (urban) government, NGOs, and the market. These changes are in part intended to democratize development through the involvement of local agencies and communities. “Empowerment” and “self-help” are some of the main concepts that have emerged in this reformed development vocabulary. Thus, while the challenge of the slums has assumed global proportions, the remedies are increasingly sought at the local level. This article focuses on the implications of a neoliberal environment on urban slum rehabilitation efforts. What new opportunities for rehabilitation are offered under neoliberal conditions? What are the constraints imposed by these conditions? How does neoliberalization affect local agencies, communities, and processes in specific slum rehabilitation projects? What can we say about the odds of success for various projects under conditions of neoliberalization? The article is inspired by a case study of one particular Mumbai slum, Ganesh Nagar D. Ever since Mumbai (Bombay, prior to its renaming in 1995) became a major city in the second part of the 19th century, it has been beset by shortages and poor quality of the housing stock. Over time, the slum population has grown to exceed 50% of the entire population of (now) well over 12 million. The problem of housing has become ever more pressing and today even many lower-middle income families are condemned to living in slums (Patel, 2005). Ganesh Nagar D, because of its particular nature, provides an intriguing and illuminating case study of rehabilitation in the context of new neoliberal policies. Interestingly, it has been an exceptionally successful project but it appears to have been successful against the odds. Combining this case study with a more general examination of conditions in Mumbai, it is possible to generate some useful insights in the prospects for rehabilitation in Mumbai and urban India at large. Most of the research for this paper was done from 2005 to 2007. It involved several visits to Ganesh Nagar D and the Mahalaxmi area within which it is located, interviews with local stakeholders, and analysis of pertinent documents. The case-study was combined with a broader literature study of slums and slum policies in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and India. The empirical study was conducted in the context of the theoretical literature on neoliberalism and recent general writings on urban slums. The rest of the paper is structured as follows. It begins with a brief discussion of the current literature on slums and slum rehabilitation and of the more theoretical literature on neoliberalism in terms of its relevance to slums. The subsequent empirical part of the paper starts with an overview of the history and geography of Mumbai’s slums and the changing policy environment in the city. Next, the paper provides a detailed account of Ganesh Nagar D and its rehabilitation strategy. The final section contains the main conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Once completed, the rehabilitation of Ganesh Nagar D will have been a remarkable success. The entire community will have new housing and each family will own their own home. The new apartments are comfortable, safe, have electricity, water and sewage and private toilets. The community will be together and will remain in the same location – something vitally important to stay close to jobs. The community will control the eligibility of new buyers, though at present there is no indication that any of the families intends to sell. But it appears to have been a success against the odds and certainly not one that has been emulated on any large scale. What makes the case of GND so interesting, then, is that it illustrates at once the opportunities and the constraints of neoliberal rehabilitation schemes. In some fundamental ways, GND’s success would not have been possible without the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (1995) or without the broader liberalization and deregulation of the urban economy since the early nineties. At the same time it is evident that in some very important ways the particular strategy of GND did not conform to SRS blueprints at all. Indeed, it is equally true that within the confines of standard SRS policies and without circumvention of some key SRS principles, success would have remained elusive. Before reaching some more general conclusions, let us briefly reconsider five key elements of GND’s rehab strategy and how they relate to Mumbai’s neoliberal environment. First, the key principle of the SRS upon which this case of rehabilitation relied is the inclusion in the rehab strategy of a market component of newly built homes. This is what finances new construction and the entire process revolves around it. It became possible by virtue of the rapid development of Mumbai’s real estate market which was, in turn, predicated on policies of deregulation and liberalization of the urban land market since the early nineties. In this sense, the rehabilitation of GND tapped directly into new opportunities in the neoliberal urban environment. Second, while the central Indian government plays no active role of significance in slum rehab efforts in Indian cities and while the private market has assumed a vital part, state and local government are still involved in important ways. As noted before, the SRS was initiated by the Maharashtra State government. More importantly, it is the municipal government that makes available the land for rehabilitation. It does so in two ways. First, upon approval of an SRS project, the municipal government hands ownership of the occupied land to the slum dwellers (in other words, it legalizes occupation and provides for legal titles). Second, in case of TDRs, the municipal government provides the developer with rights to formerly public land in the suburbs. Thus, while it is true that Mumbai has witnessed a decisive neoliberal turn in the past 15 years or so, one should not assume that slum rehabilitation is now left entirely to the free market. Without government-provided land, the rehabilitation of GND would also not have been possible. Third, as current writings on neoliberalism would suggest, GND’s rehabilitation relied primarily on ‘self-help’. Indeed, referring to the GND Housing Co-op, the website of the NGO states that “Self Help is the leading principle of Ganesh Nagar Housing society”.9 The process had to be initiated and pursued first and foremost by the slum dwellers themselves. They formed a representative committee and a housing Co-op, and eventually they even assumed the role of developer. With the latter, they took ‘self-help’ a notable step further than was envisioned in the SRS. GND was unable to attract a developer due to the low prospects of the sales component which was in turn attributed to the high density, small size, and unappealing location of the slum. Mumbai’s developers are closely eyeing the thousands of slum sites in the city and they carefully select the ones with the best prospects for a high profit. Hence, this is where the market ‘failed’ slum rehabilitation. It is also where the SRS blueprint failed and this is why the GND Co-op did not have another choice but to assume the role of developer. Of course, the GND also obtained TDRs as part of the project that can be sold after completion of the project. This carried a certain risk because of the past tumultuous market performance of TDRs, but at the moment the outlook is good (see Footnote 6). Fourth, in terms of financing, the GND project is a peculiar deviation from SRS blueprints. In the SRS, the developer is expected to get the financing to contract architects and builders – it should be noted that the very idea of private banks financing slum rehabilitation was quite novel in India. In the end, the rehabilitation of GND was indeed financed by a private bank, HDFC. However, the problem of GND itself assuming the role of developer was that they could not by themselves put up the capital. This necessitated the involvement of a guarantor, the foreign-based Cordaid. Thus, a ‘traditional’ foreign development NGO had to come in to provide guaranteed funds, so that HDFC would commit to the loan to the GND Co-op. Fifth, in line with suggestions from the literature on neoliberalism, NGOs were critical in this process. The Slum Rehabilitation Society, the NGO that supported GND throughout, was probably the most proactive actor, more so than the slum dwellers association itself. The NGO has a strong local base and has been around a long time (since 1975). Its leadership has been unusually stable (it has not changed), knows the territory very well, and has had very close and relations of mutual respect with the slum dwellers. By the end of 2008, the GND project will have been underway for a total of 20 years, and 13 years since the SRS took effect. It has been an excruciatingly slow process with various twists and turns and with the undying dedication of the NGO that has constantly been on the side of this community since the fire of 1988. The completion of this rehabilitation effort rests in no small part on the unusual combination of a persevering, patient, and consensus-oriented slum community with a deeply committed, highly skilful, and equally patient NGO. The small size and local base of the NGO were well-suited for this project, and its global connections to Cordaid proved invaluable. The NGO played a major part in the necessary networking with government agencies, financial institutions, builders and other players. What does all of this mean in more general terms for the prospects of slum rehabilitation in Mumbai and other Indian cities? Given that the challenge of slums is assuming global proportions, is it possible to meet that challenge with piecemeal, localized, approaches? It seems evident that for most slum communities, the prospects are dim. Like GND, most slum communities occupy small areas in poor locations and are of no interest to private developers who have plenty to choose from. This means that the only option would be to assume the role of developer, as did GND. But it is a major challenge to acquire the backing of a guarantor. Furthermore, most slum communities are not likely to be as homogeneous, stable, and unified as GND, making it hard for them to pursue a forceful and diligent strategy. Even in this case, rehabilitation will have taken about two decades. It is hard to imagine that large numbers of other slum communities and their supporting NGOs would have the stamina and longevity to complete this very long and uncertain road of rehabilitation. It appears that in Mumbai’s neoliberal urban regime and, more specifically, in current slum rehabilitation schemes, too much is expected of the market. It is not so much a matter of fine-tuning a policy or eliminating minor imperfections. If we have to assume that developers are only interested in the most lucrative projects; that most slum rehab projects return relatively modest profits; and that most groups of slum dwellers will not be able to replicate the endeavors of GND; then the urban land and finance markets will not deliver a large scale solution to the challenge of the slums. Perhaps this is already clear from the most recent developments in Mumbai, where local and state governments have turned to yet another strategy. In 2007, government invited bids for large scale redevelopment plans of Dharavi, often dubbed ‘Asia’s biggest slum’. These projects would involve hundreds of thousands of people and large areas of very valuable land in the topographical center of Greater Mumbai. A far cry from notions of ‘self-help,’ these projects would put control firmly in the hands of big development corporations, presumably with government oversight, and most likely with little say for slum dwellers.10 In those circumstances, one might wish for the imperfections of well-meaning NGOs that are sometimes denounced by critics of neoliberalism! The case of GND helps to understand the apparent lack of progress with slum rehabilitation across the city. Slum populations have continued to increase both absolutely and relatively in recent years. From a global perspective, Mumbai does not seem much different from other big cities in India and elsewhere in the less-developing world. The rehabilitation of Ganesh Nagar D is a compelling story of a very poor urban community improving its lot in significant ways. This half acre of community land in south central Mumbai is a ‘space of hope’ in that sense. Some local battles are hard-fought and won. But in the current policy environment, it remains an island of success.