These neighbourhoods are hives of building activity. The houses here have long passed the hutment stage and are now as pucca as your own homes, albeit in constrained conditions. Unlike most flat owners (this means you), these homes occupy a plot on the ground and rise to a height that will not get them in trouble with the BMC. They are built in RCC and brick masonry, finished with ceramic tiles, both inside and outside, are clean and largely maintenance-free. They have electricity and piped water running to their kitchens and toilets. This is clearly seen by the miles of running pipes over ground, on both sides of the streets. The roads outside their homes are paved with interlocking tiles, just like any other part of the city.
Despite this, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) chooses to name these localities as ‘difficult’ areas, and damn them to the eternal hell of rehabilitation.
Managing cities is often more about understanding how people that live in them use the spaces where they work and live rather than imposing an outsider view of how cities should be.
[Link to FirstPost.Mumbai]
The EJO had been working with local tenants in run-down properties and soon started to notice some patterns. The EJO began to collect public data on the properties with the most violations. As the collected data grew in size, the EJO examined various ways they could visualize the data making it clear and understandable to all concerned. They tried various mind-mapping and organization-charting software but to no avail — the complex ties they were discovering just made the diagrams hopelessly unreadable. They turned to social network analysis [SNA] to make sense of the complex interconnectivity.
[Source: Revealing Economic Terrorists: a Slumlord Conspiracy]
So it turns out that social networks do have some use beyond selling us as products.
As per estimates of the Committee set up by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation under the Chairmanship of Dr. Pranob Sen, Principal Adviser, Planning Commission (former Secretary, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, and Chief Statistician, Government of India) the slum population in the country is expected to touch 93.06 million by 2011.
India too conducts its census every ten years and the sheer size of numbers blows away your mind; Uttar Pradesh, one of the states in northern India now has a population of 200 million – almost two-thirds that of the entire U.S. Although 93.06 million in slums sounds like abject poverty, in reality its not exactly true. Some 'slums' in Mumbai are hotbeds of grassrooots entrepreneurship and although living conditions could be better, not all hope is lost.
[Link to India's Urban Slum Population]