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Blogpost: Most Livable Slum (World Bank, 13 Sept 2010)
Vancouver was rated as the most livable city in 2010. Is there any precedent of municipalities rating the livability of their slums?
Could a rating of the livability of slums leverage improved quality of services? For instance, in Bangladesh (where most slums are located on private land) poor services in slums are maintained because:
1. The Residents: are not so much illegal settlers as they are tenants renting accommodation. While they want improved services, they also know that better accommodation commands higher rents.
2. The Land Owner: does not invest in upgrading (as infrastructure is difficult to maintain) neither does he want to sell the land (as he will get far less than the land is actually worth) neither can he evict the residents (as middle-men are often housed on this land).
3. The Municipality: does not want to recognize these slums (because they do not have planning approval) neither does it want these residents evicted (as they constitute a sizeable vote bank).
If a municipality were to rank the livability of slums:
1. The Municipality: would gain popularity by recognizing the existence of these communities.
2. The Land Owners: would gain recognition for providing better living conditions for residents.
3. The Residents: would incur health & welfare benefits from the better living conditions.
One would reasonably expect that better performing slums would command higher income for the land owner while residents would probably also benefit from reduced health and welfare expenditures.
If this rating were undertaken by the slum residents then they would also benefit from;
• exposure to the good practices within other slums,
• building solidarity with the residents of other slums when touring with the evaluation team.
• strengthened accountability of land owners to the rating of the residents.