Enablement approaches to the upgrading of informal settlements: a case study of Misisi Compound in Lusaka, Zambia
Mukumba, Charles Poleni
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The main aim of the study was to improve the current process of informal settlement upgrading for Misisi Compound, an informal settlement in Lusaka, Zambia, through participatory and enabling approaches to the upgrading of informal settlements. Inadequate involvement of residents in planning, implementation and monitoring of urban settlement programmes has been widely cited as a major gap in the implementation of upgrading of informal settlement initiatives. This study contains an evaluation of the existing literature on participative and enabling approaches to the upgrading of informal settlements, wherein theories on human settlements and the evolution of cities, urbanisation, and informal settlements are discussed. The study confirmed the importance of informal settlements, resulting from rapid urbanisation, as special locations for living and engaging in economic, political and cultural activities. Informal settlements occupy an increasingly important position in the landscape of possibilities facing poor populations around the world. A case study methodology was adopted as an effective exploratory tool to understand the complexity of the subject and focus the study to answering how the current processes of upgrading informal settlements in Lusaka could be improved with reference to Misisi Compound. The case study methodology also provided the context within which the residents of the community live and where the actual upgrading of the informal settlement has to take place. It enabled the researcher to get a realistic picture of the study area and emphasised the interplay and relationship between the context and events. An integration of qualitative and quantitative research was used to determine how residents in Misisi Compound experienced the upgrading processes and to learn how engaged they were in the upgrading of their area. Purposive and random sampling was used to select the sample size of participants who were regarded as custodians of specific information to solve the identified problem. The research found that enabling opportunities contribute to the successful implementation of informal settlement upgrading initiatives. The study highlighted the benefits of a people-centred approach, allowing for the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders. To improve living conditions in informal settlements, residents prioritised security of tenure and municipal services as key to creating an enabling environment within which they could continue engaging in self-help housing or self-managed housing. The research concluded that an enabling environment is key to achieving the successful upgrading of Misisi Compound.