ACHR Mission Report (Chapters by Arif Hasan)

The Asian Urban Context and the Poor

This section is derived from the discussions that the Mission members had with ACHR partners and communities and from their personal experiences of working in development projects in Asian cities and research studies.

Urban poor communities in Asia face problems at two levels, micro and macro. At the micro level there are first household or personal survival issues relating to incomes, essential expenditures in terms of food, clothing, health and education and the like. Next, these households and their neighbourhoods require water, sewage, road paving, solid waste management, electricity, fuel, health and education facilities and space for recreation and commercial and community activity. In addition, they require funds to meet the financial burden that emergencies place on them and also funds to support their small commercial activities. In the absence of such funds many poor families are forced to borrow and as such remain in debt. As a result, they cannot invest in housing. At the macro level things that need to be arranged include (adequately paid) jobs, transport to and from their places of work, housing and land/plots, and location of their settlements near to their work areas and development projects at the city level that enhance the quality of their lives. In addition, there is a need to develop an adequate overall policy that addresses poverty related structural issues.

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