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How People Face Evictions: Lessons from people-led initiatives

Publication Date :: 2010

Forced and market-driven evictions are increasing dramatically worldwide, with devastating effects on millions of children, women and men across the globe. Despite this negative trend, however, many people-led initiatives have been successful in addressing this issue and reducing the number of evictions, developing new policies and proving that alternatives to forced eviction can be found.

This project aims to document, reflect upon and share people-based initiatives and experiences of struggles against evictions, including how groups are securing rights to adequate housing, legal security of tenure and freedom from arbitrary destruction and dispossession, giving voice to people who are active on the ground and providing an opportunity for exchange and mutual learning.

The research has been coordinated by the Development Planning Unit (DPU) of University College London, with the support of the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), and carried out with a range of grassroots organisations, networks and activists in different parts of the world.

The project has been carried out in two stages, initially focussing on documenting the experiences and examples of good practice through the preparation of narratives by local groups who have faced or are currently facing forced evictions the cities of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Porto Alegre (Brazil), Durban (South Africa), Hangzhou (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Karachi (Pakistan) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), as well as in the rural villages of Mirshaq and Sarandu in Egypt.

The second stage of the project has focused on sharing these experiences – both amongst the various groups involved and to other groups currently facing forced evictions – through an international exchange event held in Istanbul, one of the participating cities, in February 2010. Following the documentation of the individual cases and inputs from the exchange seminar, a cross-sectional analysis has been prepared with key lessons and themes drawn from the various cases, along with concluding remarks on issues that have emerged as part of the discussions and documentation process.

The central focus of this report is on the practical strategies and experiences of communities who have directly struggled against forced evictions. Many of these experiences offer valuable lessons for other groups facing similar issues and it is envisaged that the groups involved, as well as the many other groups around the world confronting similar issues, will benefit from the documentation of these diverse experiences and solutions and identify cross-cutting themes.

Author:: Yves Cabannes, Chair of Development Planning, Development Planning Unit - UCL (coord.); Silvia GuimarĂ£es Yafai, Head of International Programmes, BSHF; Cassidy Johnson, Lecturer, MSc Building and Urban Design in Development, Development Planning Unit - UCL (Editors)
Partners:: International Alliance of Inhabitants; Habitat International Coalition, Housing and Land Rights Network (HIC-HLRN); Housing Rights Coordination, Turkey; Dominican Coordination of Urban People's Movements; Brazilian Movement for Housing Struggle (MNLM); Utopia e Luta Autonomous Community, Brazil; FEDEVI, Argentina; Solidarity Committee with Agrarian Reform Farmers, Egypt; Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR); DAP-NED and Urban Resource Centre, Pakistan; Abahlali baseMjondolo, South Africa.
Your Comments::
Posted : 21/07/2010 at 22:42
Unplanned areas, also known as squatter settlements are usually found in the urban periphery. This is especially so in developing cities of the world,where migration apart, poverty and high cost of land development with supporting infrastructure are issues still unresolved. Goverments in these countries must continue to fund satisfactory and affordable housing at all levels and for all income groups .Realistic mortgage finance be made within reach of average employed city dwellers.
Brenda Torpy
Posted : 08/07/2010 at 21:04
Champlain Housing Trust
This is a very important study
Around the world people have become very aware of the impact on wildlife and whole ecosystems when land is redeveloped for natural resources and economic development. The public's awareness needs to be redrawn to the accompanying destruction of human habitat and communities.
Carlos Lebrero
Posted : 01/07/2010 at 18:10
Facultad de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Buenos Aires
Its a real problem when those urban slum or non planificated cities are located near by rivers or coastal zones in public spaces needed by the population of the metropolitan city. Usualy are disturbing water fountains and contaminating them.
The solution then is to provide new dwelings and perhaps to densificate areas. The most scarce is urban soil.
Posted : 23/06/2010 at 11:09
UNPLANNED CITIES, CAUSE OF EVICTIONS               The research shows that developing nations are not alone in the issue of Urban Slums which is the major cause of unplanned settlements.
Publishing some of the experiences of those who fought against forced evictions could be educative. Governments the world over should be encouraged to provide the basic infrastructure [roads, water and electricity] in the rural areas to reduce rural to urban migration. Local authorities should be empowered this succed. Thanks for the good job.
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