Today, 330 million people in the world live in sub-standard housing. In Brazil, 11.4 million of the 190 million people resided in areas of irregular occupation. But, policy responses to deal with these settlements have evolved in Brazil in the last 30 years from evictions under the military dictatorship to Progama de Aceleração do Crescimento(PAC), an investment program aimed to develop basic amenities in these settlements. Peru in Latin America was a pioneer in using tenure regularization as a tool for dealing with urban informality. World Bank studies show that the provision of basic services along with secure land tenure leads to substantial private investment in home construction – on average, each $1 invested in infrastructure generates $7 of household investment. But, in cities as dynamic as Rio, these programs need to be complemented by redevelopment strategies to build the city for future. Morar Carioca is a similar redevelopment program which aims to upgrade the settlements where tenure security is high and ameneties are provided for, but aims to resettle other favela residents into housing provided by Morar Carioca.
Looking for model slum redevelopment projects around the world show that an effective scalable solution comprises of attractive incentives for primary stakeholders, incorporates affordability in provision of services and takes into account the dynamic growth of the city. Here are some of the examples from around the world which demonstrate some of these aspects of successful slum revitalization.
In Dharavi, state government conceptualized a unique program called Slum Redevelopment Scheme (SRS) which aimed at in-situ redevelopment to create better ameneties, as the conventional wisdom of property titles found few takers. Hence. It aimed to use strategic densification to accommodate not only existing slum dwellers but also shelter incoming flux of migrants. This approach differed from earlier projects which only provided for existing residents. Private entities were provided incentives for investment through a mix of subsidies and through a profit sharing arrangement. They were given selling rights for additional dwellings, that remained after existing migrants were accommodated. Ensuring that redevelopment projects are treated as financially viable projects instead of as welfare project, has ensured its long term sustainability. Also, in-situ redevelopment ensured that livelihoods are not lost. Earlier redevelopment projects had resulted in displacement of existing communities to city peripheries and had built suspicion among residents. The involvement of neighborhood association in planning and the prospect of higher land value were used to attract skeptical residents
In Villa El Salvador, Lima unused and mis-used public spaces were reclaimed to provide amenities to slum residents. The Alameda de los Jardines project envisages building a water treatment plant to treat household grey water from the slum households in a land which was previously used a dumping site. Its vertical location is strategic as the semi-treated water from that plant could be used for horticulture purposes and is aimed to be used for a park located just below it. Such strategies not only reduce the cost of pumps to transfer the water and watering the park, but also give vibrancy to a squatter community.
With the recent scandal implicating construction industry, low cost methods to rejuvenate the city of Rio can prove very useful for Rio ahead of Olympics 2016.