The dynamics of informality, insufficiency, and neighborhood insecurity in slums: Evidence from Patna, India

Authors: Ziming Li*, , Abhinav Alakshendra, University of Florida
Topics: Sustainability Science, Asia, Human Rights
Keywords: the global South, public facilities, security, scarcity, public space
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


This study examines the origins of neighborhood insecurity by rethinking the relationships among slums, informality, and local governance. It identifies the physical, social, economic, and institutional determinants of diversified neighborhood conflicts and disputes through a mixed method approach. The quantitative analysis uses the household survey data collected between 2016 and 2017. We surveyed 225 households from 16 slums in Patna using multistage stratified random sampling. We also undertook focus group discussions and individual interviews of slum dwellers, civil society representatives, and policymakers to understand the perceptions of neighborhood insecurity and community governance. We use housing and land tenure as a proxy for informality and further calculate a compound index of informality incorporating housing condition and land tenure, employment, and infrastructure quality. We employ logit and bivariate probit models and Bayesian estimations. We find the perceived insufficiency of hard infrastructure including water system, sanitation, and energy rather than compound informality induced to neighborhood conflicts and disputes. It suggests that even a small incremental change in infrastructure provisions can reduce conflicts in informal settlements. We also find that in organized slums, slum dwellers are more likely to engage in efforts to improve the built environment such as trying to secure loans from local government for infrastructure building, which reduces the neighborhood conflicts. These findings imply that formalizing slums through the small-scale provision and continuous maintenance of hard infrastructure could minimize water usage-relevant neighborhood conflicts and violence. Additionally, empowering slums through civic education and engagement is a sustainable strategy in the long run.

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