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Type: Thesis
Type of Thesis: Doctoral Thesis
Title: A Liveable Life Index: A study about the potentials for participation in slum upgrading. Case Study Bhubaneswar/India
Title in another language: Ein Index für lebenswertes Leben: Eine Studie über die Möglichkeiten der Beteiligung an der Aufwertung von Slums. Fallstudie Bhubaneswar/Indien
Authors: Eicker, Berrit Neele
Issue Date: 25-Apr-2023
Keywords: Informal Neighbourhoods; Slum Upgrading; Liveability; Liveable Life Index; India; Smart Cities; e-participation
Current urbanism research unanimously recognises that eradication and displacement of informal neighbourhoods is often controlled by top-down policies of a mostly privileged social class. With the adoption of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their follow-up agreements, a vision for future developments in which exclusion and paternalism are transformed into integrated exchange; top-down master plans into sustainable bottom-up empowerment; slums into integrated neighbourhoods; and misery into qualitative living conditions has been formed. From the shortcomings of previous approaches, a readiness has emerged for new, more inclusive action, whose key to sustainable urban transformation is participatory action. The focus of novel slum upgrading approaches is on improving the well-being of local slum residents, which is yet insufficiently realized by current methods. To accompany the change towards a liveable life for all levels of society, it is time to collect locally-rooted indicators for a sustainable and liveable future and make them usable. A guide and tool for such a development of informal urban areas is sought within in the context of smart city measures.

This study addresses actors working for a liveable life in urban slums. The overall aim is to contribute to research on urbanisation problems in developing and emerging countries by characterising local, digital participation and how these can be explored and systematically described for the creation of social, economic, and ecological added value. The focus is on bridging instrumental gaps in participatory planning and implementation. The hypothesis is that the perception of a liveable life is shaped by location-specific liveability factors, which are insufficiently reflected in current slum upgrading strategies. The methodology developed considers primary research in the form of expert interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs), followed by an evaluation of liveability indices, as well as e-participation in smart cities.

In this thesis, efforts to improve liveability are related to the context of slums in India. By examining living conditions from the perspective of slum residents, the term liveable life is concretised and contrastingly discussed with existing upgrading frameworks. Subsequently, a "liveable life index" is developed for the context of Indian slums in the process of conversion, based on slum-upgrading-specific relevant factors, aiming to capture, classify and structure locally-rooted components of a liveable life for prioritisation and strategic upgrading. To identify local values and perceptions of a liveable life, guided interviews were conducted with decision-makers and slum residents and contrasted with findings from the international research literature. The case study of Bhubaneswar, capital of the state Odisha and centre of pilot projects of Odisha's Liveable Habitat Mission, sources these findings using content from focus group discussions of residents and expert interviews.

The study shows that upgrading strategies rarely consider the importance of indicators for the realisation of a liveable life in slums. Thus, assumptions and realities about the meaningfulness of measures diverge, resulting in misallocations. In general, the improvement of physical environmental conditions in slums (e.g. sanitation) is seen as a crucial factor for improving a liveable life. The research has shown that social and societal factors (e.g. social contacts) are of similar importance. To identify the optimal balance of different aspects in slum upgrading, the Liveable Life Index aims to rank locally-rooted indicators of liveable life based on categories and their importance to provide a guide for the implementation of locally prioritised interventions.

The systematic study of existing indices provides results on the opportunities and weaknesses of indicator-based monitoring tools and their use in documentation and communication. Based on the results, an index is developed, consisting of a fixed and a variable component. The fixed component consists of four main-elements determined to be decisive for slum upgrading, regardless of the case. They represent fields of action which are further specified by different sub-elements, defined in the variable component, orientating towards specific elements to be upgraded. The variable component consists of a given selection of 16 indicators (sub-elements) that can be case-specifically defined, measured and parametrised based on local data to customise the index. As every upgrading project has different specificities and areas of improvement to be addressed, additional indicators (e.g. street pavements) can be added or substituted with similar indicators. The design of a customised index can be achieved in a participatory manner and be aligned with jointly agreed goals.
Subject Class (DDC): 710: Landschaftsgestaltung, Raumplanung
HCU-Faculty: Stadtplanung 
Advisor: Noennig, Jörg Rainer 
Referee: Schmidt, Johannes Alexander
URN (Citation Link): urn:nbn:de:gbv:1373-repos-11210
Directlink: https://repos.hcu-hamburg.de/handle/hcu/881
Language: English
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