Date From : Jul 15, 2020To : Jul 16, 2020

This discussion will be livecast from 6:00 p.m. IST.

Please note that registration is on a first come, first served basis. If your registration is successful, you will receive a confirmation email and a link through which you can join the discussion.

COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability of cities and its failure to inclusively plan for the informalities within them. Globally, the worst hit areas in cities with high population densities are the slums. From kuccha tenements that barely provide any social distancing, poor access to drinking water and sanitation, uncontrollable migrant movements and a massive loss of livelihood — governments are seen battling with COVID-19 numbers and its consequences in these hitherto neglected areas. The pandemic experience will push every global city with high slum densities to think of how the situation could be turned.

For years, several governments across the world have attempted at solving the issues of informal housing, and there are more failures than successes. The famed Dharavi slum in Mumbai — one of the largest in Asia — is a great example of a burgeoning informal economy with people living and working in sub-human conditions. With no social or economic security and uncertainties of livelihoods, an area glorified in movies is calling for attention. Multiple attempts for its redevelopment over the past 14 years have failed, and none of those plans, were ever inclusive or even community driven, in the true sense.

While examples of land-based solutions for housing have resulted in worse housing for poor and seem to have only benefited everyone else, we need to talk about solutions that will lead to comprehensive planning of such areas. Innovative and inclusive solutions will need to be drawn up that will not compromise on the quality of life and livelihoods of people and create better homes and infrastructure. Policies will need to be re-imagined, finances reworked.

This webinar will explore the following:

• Slums must be comprehensively and inclusively dealt with from the planning, livelihoods, financial and climate aspects. What will be the priority tasks within these pillars for reimagining slums?

• Is uncompromised urban planning, and in turn providing housing, in informal settlements and slum formations possible in high density areas? Should rental and affordable housing be replacing concepts like free housing for the poor?

• Retaining livelihoods and community well-being is an integral part of habitation planning. How do we achieve these targets along with rehabilitation that is financially feasible?

• Climate change directly impacts informal settlements exposing them to hazards like air pollution, flooding due to rains and rising sea levels, diseases emerging out of them, leading child mortality among other issues. What are the efforts that need to be taken to build resilience against climatic impacts?


Amita Bhide, Dean, School of Habitat Studies, TISS

Pedro Ortiz, Urban/Metropolitan Planner; Consultant; Senior Fellow, Marron Institute, New York University

Priya Deshingkar, Professor of Migration and Development, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

Ramanath Jha, Distinguished Fellow, ORF


Sayli Udas-Mankikar, Senior Fellow, ORF