Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Social Innovations and Affordable Habitat

Think of a world without slums! The city of Indore can now think of it, thanks to Mr. Himanshu Parikh.

Mr. Himanshu Parikh focuses on urban planning, infrastructural development and environmental upgrading. He developed a new holistic concept for slum development called slum networking. It addresses a range of facilities like road and footpaths, storm water drainage, sanitation and sewerage, water supply, earthworks and soft landscaping, street lighting, solid waste management. It is achieved through minimal donor funding and maximum community participation. It uses an efficient microcredit system.

Mr. Parikh's study of slum development revealed that slums develop along the natural drainage paths. Hence he designed drainage and sewerage at low cost by making them follow the topology of the area. Thus the cheapest way to provide sewerage to a city is to build major sewers through the slums and then connect the higher (and usually richer) areas of the city to them. This scheme helps to secure funds from the local and national government for the construction of the drainage. Some donor money also comes in. The cost savings give leverage to the local government to provide tenure to slum dwellers who then willingly invest in the enrichment of their property due to the sense of security built up. The city of Indore saw a mind boggling upgradation of slums within two years and the slums are no longer recognizable as slums.

Mr. Parikh envisions a world without slums -