Regulating informal settlement ‘from within’: the case for plurality in applying building regulation to slum upgrading

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Abstract

In-situ upgrading of informal settlements has emerged as a key planning policy to provide durable housing that respects human rights and is financially viable. Slum upgrading policies usually focus on tenure legalisation and infrastructure improvements. However, we argue that such interventions miss a significant aspect by which informal settlements can be prevented from developing slum conditions – the application of building regulation. In conventional upgrading approaches, the application of building regulation has been conceived as a singular approach, in which city-wide, state-initiated building codes are adapted to the settlement. We broaden the debate on regulating informal settlement by incorporating regulation ‘from within’, which acknowledges that informal settlements are formed by sociospatial logics which are amenable to regulation by the dwellers themselves. This viewpoint discusses why urban regulation is needed in informal settlement upgrading, presents two of the broad critiques on the application of planning regulation to informal settlement, and suggests three approaches to regulating, namely ‘lowering standards’, ‘relational rules’, and ‘neighbourly consent’.

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APA

Van Oostrum, M., & Shafique, T. (2023). Regulating informal settlement ‘from within’: the case for plurality in applying building regulation to slum upgrading. International Development Planning Review, 45(3), 235–248. https://doi.org/10.3828/idpr.2023.4

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