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Defining slums using multidimensional and relational properties: A dynamic framework for intervention

Abubakar, Aisha and Romice, Ombretta and Salama, Ashraf M. (2017) Defining slums using multidimensional and relational properties: A dynamic framework for intervention. ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 11 (2). pp. 34-54. ISSN 1938-7806

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Abstract

Phenomenon as old as cities themselves, slums - in their many permutations - have been part of city management for a long time. Descriptions and definitions have gone through trends and so have the strategies to address their conditions and relationship to cities. Summarising various trends, definitions and approaches to solutions of slums, this paper critically analyses more recent and structured approaches that attempt to grasp the complexity of all realities constituting the slum as a key to their management. Then, from a detailed review of properties of slums from literature, it proposes a rational framework – the Slum Property Map – that organises such properties (cultural, social, economic, environmental) into a relationship map where reciprocal links between properties are highlighted and used both to develop narratives of the slum – how it originates, develops and functions for its inhabitants, and in relation to the city- and thus eventually to guide intervention through investment in and management of local assets. The paper presents the Slum Property Map as a comprehensive and dynamic way to understand slums as holding potential for their immediate and future prosperity.