Slum Housing (IRAN)

Morteza Aminmansour

Seattle, WA, USA

The growing urbanization of the developing world is an indisputable fact.

With more than 50 percent of the world’s citizens living in cities by 2020,

Urban growth will be fastest in poor countries particularly (IRAN, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan) where many of the planet’s mega cities already exist.

Slum housing: A crisis for the urban poor in the developing world ranging from the impact of ethnic exclusion in ghettoes micro finance opportunities. Efforts of civil society, particularly by slum dwellers themselves.

Slums are neglected parts of cities where housing and living conditions are appallingly poor.

Slums range from high density (south of the city Tehran), squalid central city tenements to spontaneous squatter settlements without legal recognition or rights, sprawling at the edge of cities (Mashad, Bandar Abbas, Shiraz, Karaj). Some are more than 25 years old.

Slums do not have: * basic municipal services –water, sanitation.

*Waste collection, storm drainage, street lighting,

*Road for emergency access, paved footpaths,

*School and clinics within easy reach, safe areas for children to play.

*Places for the community to meet and socialize

Slums are worsening:

*Visible disparities between slums and better-off neighborhoods increase the social tension in poorer areas.

*While the average age of city populations is increasing, the average age of slums dwellers is decreasing, so youths and children suffer most.

Over one billion people live without adequate shelter and basic services in slums and squatter settlements around the world. With over the half of humanity now living in cities and towns, the challenge is to improve the living environment of the poor.

Urban poverty is an important issue of immediate relevance to experts in health, development, employment, human right, emergency relief, and other sectors. It is important to examine how local authorities; governments, community groups or private sectors can work together to build up a world of “cities without SLUMS”.

Hundreds of millions of urban poor in the developing and transitional world have few options but to live in squalid, unsafe environments where they face multiple threats to their health and security.

SLUMS and squatter settlements lack the most basic infrastructure and services. They are exposed to disease, crime and vulnerable to natural disaster.

Slums and squatter settlements are growing at alarming rates.

Slums are the products of failed policies, corruption, inappropriate regulation dysfunctional land markets, bad governance, unresponsive financial systems, and a fundamental lack of political will.

Each of these failures adds to the toll on people already deeply burdened by poverty and constrains the enormous opportunity for human development that urban life offers.

While many urban poor live among better-off residents, the greatest spatial concentrations of the poor are found in slums and squatter settlements within cities and on the peri-urban fringes outside administrative boundaries.

Slum upgrading is poverty alleviation. For a poor family in a slum, their home is a productive asset. Large number f the urban are self employed like vendors or home-based workers. Their home are also their workplaces and warehouses. Any effort like slum upgrading, which enhances their productivity, strengthens their employment and hence helps them come out of poverty.

Slum Upgrading:
-Improving basic infrastructure, water reticulation, sanitation, and waste collection.

-Flood prevention, electricity, security lighting, and public telephone.

-Removal or mitigation of environmental hazards.

-Improving access to health care and education as well as social support programs to address issues of security, substance abuse, violence, etc.

-Building social capital and the institutional framework to sustain improvements.

-Constructing or rehabilitating community facilities such as nurseries, health posts, Community open space.

Upgrading of unserviced settlements in Iran is justified as the centerpiece of a national strategy for improving the living conditions of the urban poor because:

Upgrading makes a highly visible, immediate and large difference in the quality of life

Of the urban poor (for example by correcting sources of communicable disease which impose a particular hardship on inhabitants of slums and squatter settlements.

Improved performance of the local government is needed in managing future urban population growth-In particular by:

Effectively carrying out basic land use planning.

More effectively mobilizing local resources.

Upgrading also needs to be complemented by other measures to reduce urban poverty:

-Reforming regulatory and policy regimes for housing, land and infrastructure markets should remove obstacles and disincentives to access for the poor.

-Finance (financing for developers and infrastructure providers).

Social capital and knowledge, measures to facilitate and strengthen the organizational capacities of citizens groups and local governments.

Jobs: Remove regulatory or other obstacles to the growth of the informal sector will increase employment, productivity and private investment among the urban poor.

Other traditional measures to fight poverty, including social safety nets, public works employment, promotion of health care training and educational opportunities, particular attention needs to be given to child care for working families, activities to vulnerable youth including STREET CHILDREN, and effort to combat crime and violence.


Un-habitat –united Nation’s Human settlements program

Settlements projects throughout the world

UNCHS (Habitat)

World Habitat Day 2001

Cities Without Slums (Cities Alliance