School of Built Environment and Development Studies Seminar

Title: Opportunities and Constraints of Livelihoods in ‘Developed and Undeveloped’ Slums of Chennai, India

Speaker: Tara Saharan (University of Amsterdam)

Time: 12h30 – 13h50 , 18 March

Venue: Seminar Room F213, School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Memorial Tower Building, UKZN. Google maps: -29.866933,30.981963

Abstract: Informal settlements are an inevitable part of the fast growing cities in global South. While waiting for the state to intervene, residents of informal settlements flow in the ebb of growth and decay. The complex and volatile nature of these settlements which are continuously changing partly contributes to the lack of understanding what households in these settlements need, hindering adequate policy formulation and implementation, among other factors such as scale, institutional inadequacy and political unwillingness. This research is focusing on livelihoods of slum households in two differently classified settlements of Chennai, the fourth largest metropolitan area in India. The first part of the presentation will highlight how the slums are dealt by the state as a discursive element and how the political configurations relate to shifting slum discourses. With this as a background the second part of the talk will discuss how households in two selected slums of Chennai classified as ‘developed and undeveloped’ access opportunities or experience constraints to achieve better livelihoods.
Bio: With a background in Architecture, urban planning and development studies, Tara is presently pursuing PhD research in the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her PhD research is a comparative study focusing on the informal settlements in India and South Africa. Prior to engaging in the doctoral research, she worked as an architect for a couple of years in India.

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