Can Habitat II ensure habitable environment for the poor?

GROOTS. Apr-May 1996;3(7):1-2.


PIP: The UN Habitat II Conference presented a strategy to provide people with shelter and an appropriate infrastructure. While this strategy doubtlessly addressed the causes of tension experienced by men in overcrowded urban settings, it must also acknowledge the fact that women suffer more than men in such settings. In urban slum conglomerations in India, the failure to meet the basic needs of women is exacerbated by the proximity of liquor shops that support male alcoholism. Most families use kerosene, firewood, coal, and cow dung as sources of energy. About a third of the 4.5 million inhabitants of Madras live in disease-ridden slums lacking sanitary facilities. Most of the slum dwellers engage in trade on pavements or under trees. Because governments failed to consult those involved when crafting plans for their future, multi-storied tenements that were built to solve problems are unpopular because they add to the burden for women who must carry water up many flights of stairs. Also, slum inhabitants are often relocated in the name of housing development despite the fact that such relocation wipes out income from informal sector activities. Housing development schemes also suffer from a lack of coordination among responsible government agencies and a lack of political will to commit the necessary resources. It remains to be seen whether the Habitat II action plan will result in poor women owning their homes in habitable environments where they will have an opportunity to earn an income.

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Housing*
  • India
  • Population
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Poverty*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population
  • Urbanization*