I have been working over the past few weeks on a report for short term consulting job that analyzes slum upgrading policies across Asia (hence my hiatus from blogging). As I sifted through past research projects I came across this quote:
“A slum is not a chaotic collection of structures; it is a dynamic collection of individuals who have figured out how to survive in the most adverse of circumstances.” Rediscovering Dharavi by Kalpana Sharma 2000
Struggling to make sense of various slum upgrading policies, financing schemes and institutional frameworks that still have not eliminated the problem of slums, I found this quote on squatter’s ability to overcome adversity as somewhat inspiring. Of course I am not advocating romanticizing the poverty that exists in slums. Instead practitioners should simply take time to reflect on how squatters have already overcome so much before our plans were even created.