While this is certainly a broader perspective on redevelopment than traditional models of eviction and resettlements outside the city, it has some major flaws. I say this not just because this is what I believe but because recent scholarship in the area of informal urbanism focusses on this. Ananya Roy amongst others has written about the short-sightedness of De Soto style land tenure legitimising schemes. The assumption is that once the “slum-dwellers” have property rights, they will be able to “monetize” the land and reap the benefits. First this paradigm totally ignores the asymmetry of information between the “slum-dweller” and a real estate mogul who will be looking to buy the land. It also assumes that because now that the “slum-dweller” has access to some money, it solves the problem of poverty and all the myriad of issues that are linked with it. Further it totally ignores the potential disruption of communities, informal economic networks etc that might result from the dispersion that will likely happen.

Sustainable Cities: Finance, Design, and Innovation

By Candy Tang

With respect to slum redevelopment, it would be more effective to grant residents title to the plots of land the currently occupy and then let market forces work, rather than looking to large scale redevelopment via professional real estate firms.

If we could all agree that one major goal of slum redevelopment is to improve the welfare of its residents, there is no better way than to grant residents the property right as a solution. A great majority of the world’s largest slums such as Orangi Town, Neza-Chalco-Itza and Dharavi are near the heart of the city. They constantly provide low-cost labor to the city but they don’t share in the growth of the city in the form of land appreciation. Assuming liquidity is high in these real estate markets, which is always the case in rapidly developed cities, slum dwellers could monetize the benefits and they…

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