Provision of Safe and Secure Living Environment to Urban Poor, Ahmedabad –
The city of Ahmedabad is building housing to address pollution and sanitation in riverside slums.
“Provision of Safe and Secure Living Environment to Urban Poor, Ahmedabad” involves the
construction of dwellings with all basic amenities for people currently dwelling in slums along the
Sabarmati River. The improved housing will mitigate pollution and improve lives for thousands of
- More than 12,000 dwelling units constructed for poor urban families
- Untreated sewage from more than 8,000 families prevented from flowing into river
- Almost 17,000 individual toilets planned for 2013/2014
The most convenient way for poor people to establish themselves in India’s city of Ahmedabad is for them to
set up shanties either on the city’s riverfront or other water bodies, or on public land or public transport
routes. The majority of people in waterside communities defecate in or near the water, resulting in serious
pollution problems and health hazards. This has severely damaged the ecosystem of the river and other water bodies,
which form a lifeline for Ahmedabad.
In addition, poor riverside communities are exposed to the constant risk of flooding, which can result in the loss
of property, lives, and livelihoods. This serves to perpetuate a vicious circle of poverty. Evacuation of poor
riverside communities during the monsoon season is expensive and laborious, both for the city government and for
the communities themselves.
The city-run Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation plans to construct more than
20,000 homes for the city’s urban poor. Each 36.5 square meter unit includes drainage and sewage
infrastructure, as well as streetlights and paved roads. The planning process included a survey of poor households
on the riverfront, and worked with communities to identify suitable alternative locations within city limits and a
5-kilometer radius of former residences. Civil society organizations are involved in assisting with sustainability
aspects of the project.
Helping the planet
Construction of toilets and sanitation systems prevents raw sewage from flowing into the river, improving the
ecosystem. The new housing has greatly reduced water and ground pollution, boosting the health of the surrounding
Families are reaping numerous benefits from a cleaner and safer urban environment. They don’t have to move
every monsoon season, saving time and energy. They are no longer subjected to serious flooding that threatens life
and property. People in the improved housing get sick less often, with children attending school at a higher rate
and parents able to work longer hours. Relations between family members and neighbors are eased through proper
sanitation systems. In all, the quality of life for people in this program has tremendously improved.
The housing model has the possibility of being expanded within Ahmedabad’s city of almost 6 million, or
indeed in other high-density, waterfront slums in India. Various institutions and organizations have visited the
development to learn about its best practices, which include monolithic construction technology, an integrated
infrastructure package, and resident welfare associations for sustainability.
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