Livelihoods of squatter settlements: analysis from tenure perspective

Ashokkumar Shrestha, Purna Nepali, U.S. Panday, Reshma Shrestha

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Squatter settlements are inevitable in most of the urban areas. Livelihood situation of squatter settlements seem poor, vulnerable and miserable. Living condition in these settlements suffered from overcrowding, inadequate accommodation, limited access to clean water and sanitation, lack of proper waste disposal system and degraded air quality.

Using case study approach in the selected study area along the Bagmati river bank in Kathmandu city named Thapathali Squatter Settlement (TSS), Shankhamul Squatter Settlement (SSS) and Kirtipur Squatter Resettlement (KSR), this paper presents the livelihood of squatter settlements and analyze from tenure security perspective. Moreover, this paper basically attempts to understand and analyze livelihood situations of the squatter settlements with reference to tenure security. Specifically, it includes the importance and the role of tenure security in squatter settlement with regard to livelihood, as well as to analyze improvement of it over the past 10 years. Data for the paper were collected from both primary and secondary sources.

The paper has successfully evaluated and analyzed livelihood situations of the squatter settlements with reference to tenure security. The analysis result shows that the improvement level in TSS is negative in regard to key dimensions of the slums and squatters. Relatively, SSS has improved. Being the resettlement, KSR is achieving the key dimensions of the slums and squatters. In the continuum of land rights, TSS is found to be in the condition of perceived secure land tenure. Unlike it, SSS has the condition of De-facto land tenure and KSR is in the condition of legal tenure. The major problems in improvement of squatter settlement process found in the study areas are: lack of coordination among government agencies, NGOs/INGOs and the local squatters, lack of specific policy of the government, lack of planed resettlements, and desire of the squatters to settle in the middle of the town.

This paper identifies that practice by the government and fears of eviction are the main causes of the squatters' planning of the physical structure of their houses. Specific policies are to be applied by the government for the betterment of the squatters and for prevention of the formation of squatter settlements. It is recommended that identification and categorization of genuine squatters at local level can be the promising way of studying them and they should be resettled. Consequently, participatory resettlement of squatter settlement is suggested for betterment of their livelihood and to ensure their land tenure security.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalFIG Peer Review Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventFIG Working Week 2017: Surveying the world of tomorrow - From digitalisation to augmented reality - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 29 May 20172 Jun 2017


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