ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Affordable Housing and Ethiopia’s War on Poverty

The Ethiopian approach to planning and development is a unique and bold departure from the cautious and incremental approach that has dominated the rhetoric and practice of development in the cities and regions of the third world since the rise and mainstreaming of participatory, small-scale and upgradation-based development. The ongoing tale of Ethiopia’s war on poverty is a fascinating one, combining elements of brutality and welfare; state control and limited privatisation; an apparent homogeneity of developmental output; and yet a vibrant variety in the details of the development process. It calls for serious exploration and documentation. One of the most revealing interventions in this regard is the Ethiopian affordable housing programme.

A Scholar in a Slum

In the spring of 2012, this author had the honour of taking Lawrence Vale, one of the foremost scholars in the field of affordable public housing, on a tour of the city of Kolkata. He was collecting material and experiences for his forthcoming book and the city of joy is not one to let down a traveller in search of images, sounds, smells and contradictions. Half way through the tour, we walked into the lively slum of Pyarabagan in south Kolkata. Pyarabagan was one of the 140 slums in the city that were upgraded as part of the slum improvement component of a large Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded project called the Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project. The upgradation was done in 2004 and consisted of the typical menu of water supply, sanitation, street paving and street lighting. Anyone familiar with the slums of Kolkata would know that there is never a dull, slow or boring moment in these lively and dense settlements.

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Updated On : 25th Jan, 2017

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