The Impact of Slum Resettlement on Urban Integration in Mumbai: The Case of the Chandivali Project

Developing viable public policies of slum resettlement is a challenge faced by most urban policy-makers. It has, however, become a critical one in Mumbai – a city, housing some of the world’s highest population densities - a record number of slums-dwellers, but also the world’s largest urban protected forest: the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. By 1999 it was estimated that 60,000 households had illegally ‘encroached’ into the Park’s land and were to be evicted by local authorities.

This paper focuses on the Chandivali project, an unconventional slum resettlement scheme known as one of the largest ever developed, and targeting up to 25,000 of the families settled in the Park. Based on a stratified quantitative survey and an econometric analysis, it provides a detailed picture of the settlement history and the legal struggle that followed, emphasizing the links between demolitions, perceived security of tenure and housing investment.

The paper then concentrates on the key structural changes taking place at the time of shifting, in terms of the dwellers’ integration to their urban environment. We show that resettlement has positive short-term impacts on the access to basic infrastructure and to tenure security (mainly because of large-scale demolitions in initial slums), but has a negative effect on the access to social and transport infrastructure. Furthermore, employment comes out as the fundamental driver of long-term integration.

The project’s estimated disruptive effect on labour patterns remains limited, due to the satisfactory localization of the resettlement site: unemployment rates remain stable and job creations roughly compensate for loss of jobs. Adjustments mainly take place in the casual labour and self-employed sectors. Most alterations are due to a ‘family nuclearization process’, resulting from the lack of flexibility of the new tenements and leading to an illusory concentration of the employment structure in stable and better-paid jobs. We finally point out a significant increase in commuting distances and a strong job dependence on the initial area of living.

Keywords: Slum resettlement, Mumbai, Urban Economics, urban India, urban forest.

  • In :
    CSH Occasional Paper N°26
  • Year :
    2010
  • Pages :
    142
  • ISSN :
    0972 - 357