URBAN UPGRADING AND SLUM CLEARANCE
At its most basic level, urban upgrading involves improving the physical environment of communities with little access to utilities. This includes improving and/or installing basic infrastructure like water, sanitation, waste collection, access roads, storm drainage, lighting, public telephones, etc. Upgrading also deals with housing improvements, security of tenure, and improving access to municipal and support services.
Key challenges remain lack of policy direction. Urban Upgrading can be distinguished from slum upgrading. Slums are the products of failed policies, bad governance, corruption, inappropriate regulation, dysfunctional land markets, unresponsive financial systems, and a fundamental lack of political will to reverse the failure. Upgrading however, could be due to inability of utility agencies to provide services to a planned area.
To prevent creation of new slums, changes must be made to the legal and regulatory framework of planning laws, particularly with regard to land acquisition, land-use planning and instruments that facilitate land acquisition. The main route to address the growth of slums is through preparation of advance planning of undeveloped land prior to sale.
Policy on slum clearance
The Institute shall support Government craft policy statements on slums. On almost every map of the world’s major cities, the areas occupied by the urban poor appear as blank spaces, emblem of their future erasure. Most cities have taken bold policy measures to reverse slum build-up and Ghana must take similar measures to address its needs. Being aware of the filth, crime and disease emerging in Ghana’s sprawling slums, the country needs an act of parliament to eliminate slums. It should involve facilitating credit to reputable real estate developers for the purpose of pulling down noxious tenement houses and erecting new dwellings in their stead. Slums are already visible at prime locations of the city and the cost of land can offset resettlement costs. It is interesting to note that wholesale clearances of city slums intensify whenever some spectacular event is to be staged—Beijing unceremoniously removed its urban poor prior to the Olympics. Delhi began cleansing its slums in readiness for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Bangalore is to become “slum-less” as a result of its “slum clearance with a mission” programme. Mumbai is clearing one of India’s largest slums, and revenues from land sales are enough to pay for the cost of constructing a new city within Mumbai and pay for resettlement cost.