CUS  Vol.4 No.4 , December 2016
Effects of Informal Settlement Upgrading in Kabul City, Afghanistan: A Case Study of Afshar Area
Abstract: Rapid migration and vast urban expansion have contributed to large informal settlements in Kabul city. Post-war refugees, the return of internally displaced residents to the city, and rural migration are some causal factors. About 69 percent of the city’s population live in informal settlements. This growth together with a volatile security situation and limited local government capacity has overwhelmed municipal authorities. To address the challenges of informal settlements in the Kabul city, the Afghan government with support from international organizations has recently implemented a settlement-upgrading program. This paper focuses on understanding the effects of this upgrading program and resident’s satisfaction with it using data from interviews conducted in the Afshar area of the city. Findings reveal that interventions under the program were unidimensional, often focusing on physical improvements. While these led to improved housing conditions, accessibility, and the local economy of Afshar area, it does not integrate key social, economic and environmental issues. Moving forward, the article suggests the need to adopt integrated settlement upgrading to confront the challenge of informal settlements in Kabul city.
Cite this paper: Nazire, H. , Kita, M. , Okyere, S. and Matsubara, S. (2016) Effects of Informal Settlement Upgrading in Kabul City, Afghanistan: A Case Study of Afshar Area. Current Urban Studies, 4, 476-494. doi: 10.4236/cus.2016.44031.

[1]   Abbott, J. (2002). An Analysis of Informal Settlement Upgrading and Critique of Existing Methodological Approaches. Habitat International, 26, 303-315.

[2]   Acioly, C. (2002). The Rationale of Informal Settlements Regularization Projects: from Settlement Upgrading to Integration Approaches. Lecture Notes. Rotterdam: Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies.

[3]   AlSayyad, N. (2004). Urbanism as a “New” Way of Life. In A. Roy, & N. AlSayyad (Eds.), Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East (pp. 7-30). South Asia and Latin America.

[4]   Balbo, M. (2001). Shelter: Emerging Trends and Policies. Habitat Debate, 7, 6-7.

[5]   Beall, J., & Esser, D. (2005) Shaping Urban Futures: Challenges to Governing and Managing Afghan Cities. Kabul: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU).

[6]   Bertaud, A. (2005). Urban Land Management in Afghanistan Kabul Urban Development Current City Structure (pp. 2-30). Spatial Issues, Recommendations on Urban Planning.

[7]   Boonyabancha, S. (2009). Land for Housing the Poor—By the Poor: Experiences from the Baan Mankong Nationwide Slum Upgrading Programme in Thailand. Environment and Urbanization, 21, 309-329.

[8]   Boonyabancha, S. (2005). Baan Mankong Going to Scale with “Slum” and Squatter Upgrading in Thailand. Environment and Urbanization, 17, 21-46.

[9]   Burra, S. (2005). Towards a Pro-Poor Framework for Slum Upgrading in Mumbai, India. Environment& Urbanization, 17, 67-88.

[10]   Davis, M (2004). Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Proletariat. New Left Review, 26, 5-34.

[11]   Durand-Lasserve, A., & Royston, L. (2002). Holding Their Ground: Secure Land Tenure for the Urban Poor in Developing Countries (264 p). London: Earthscan Publications.

[12]   Galuszka, J. (2014). Community-BASED Approaches to Settlement Upgrading as Manifested through the Big ACCA Projects in Metro Manila, Philippines. Environment and Urbanization, 26, 276-296.

[13]   Gebremedhin, Y. (2005). Preliminary Assessment of Informal Settlements in Kabul City (pp. 3-6).

[14]   Gilbert, A. (2007). The Return of the Slum: Does Language Matter? International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 31, 697-713.

[15]   Gouverneur, D. (2015). Planning and Design for Future Informal Settlements: Shaping the Self-Constructed City. London: Routledge.

[16]   Habib, J. (2011). Urban Cohesiveness in Kabul City: Challenges and Threats. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 68, 363-371.

[17]   Hasan, A. (2006). Orangi Pilot Project: The Expansion of Work beyond Orangi and the Mapping of Informal Settlements and Infrastructure. Environment & Urbanization, 18, 451-480.

[18]   Horen, B. V. (2004). Community Upgrading and Institutional Capacity Building to Benefit the Urban Poor in Asia. In Forum on Urban Infra-Structure and Public Service Delivery to the Urban Poor, Regional Focus: Asia (pp. 1-30). Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWIC).

[19]   Huchzermeyer, M. (2004). Unlawful Occupation: Informal Settlements and Urban Policy in South Africa and Brazil. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

[20]   Imparato, I., & Ruster, J. (2003). Slum Upgrading and Participation: Lessons from Latin America. Washington DC: World Bank.

[21]   Jabeen, H., Johnson, C., & Allen, A. (2010). Built-in Resilience: Learning from Grassroots Coping Strategies for Climate Variability. Environment and Urbanization, 22, 415-431.

[22]   JICA (2011). Promotion of Kabul Metropolitan Area Development: Capacity Development Project (pp. 1-103). Kabul City Current Status Report for Urban Development.

[23]   Kabul City Municipality (2008). Making Cities More Economically Productive and More Equitable. Urban Development, 11, 15-23.

[24]   Khalifa, M. A. (2015). Evolution of Informal Settlements Upgrading Strategies in Egypt: From Negligence to Participatory Development. Ain Shams Engineering Journal, 6, 1151-1159.

[25]   Kudva, N., & Beneria, L. (2005). Rethinking Informalization: Poverty, Precarious Jobs and Social Protection. Ithaca: Internet First University Press.

[26]   Kudva, N. (2009). The Everyday and the Episodic: The Spatial and Political Impacts of Urban Informality. Environment and Planning A, 41, 1614-1628.

[27]   Lieberherr-Gardiol, F. (2006). Slums Forever? Globalisation and its Consequences. The European Journal of Development Research, 18, 275-283.

[28]   Lombard, M. (2014). Constructing Ordinary Places: Place-Making in Urban Informal Settlements in Mexico. Progress in Planning, 94, 1-53.

[29]   Menshawya, A. E., Alya, S. S., & Salmana, A. M. (2011). Sustainable Upgrading of Informal Settlements in the Developing World, Case Study: Ezzbet Abd El Meniem Riyadh, Alexandria, Egypt. Procedia Engineering, 21, 168-177.

[30]   Nazire, H., & Kita, M. (2016). Specifying Characteristics of Informal Settlements by Comparing Four Areas from the Aspects of Houses, Land Tenure and Social Factors in Kabul, Afghanistan. Journal of Architecture and Planning, 81, 2197-2206.

[31]   Noori, A. W. (2010). Challenges of Traffic Development in Kabul City. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Mathematik und Informatik, Physik, Geographie Institutfur Geographie, Giessen: Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen.

[32]   Ojong, N. (2011). Livelihood Strategies in African Cities: The Case of Residents in Bamenda, Cameroon. African Review of Economics and Finance, 3, 8-25.

[33]   Okyere, A. S., & Kita, M. (2015). Rethinking Urban Informality and Informal Settlements Growth in Urban Africa: A Literature Discussion. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 17, 101-124.

[34]   Okyere, A. S., Aramburu, K., Kita, M., & Nazire, H. (2016). COFOPRI’s Land Regularisation Program in Saul Cantoral Informal Settlement: Processes, Results and the Way forward. Current Urban Studies, 4, 53-68.

[35]   Roy, A. (2005). Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning. Journal of the American Planning Associarion, 71, 147-158.

[36]   Roy, A. (2011). Slumdog Cities: Rethinking Subaltern Urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35, 223-238.

[37]   Smolka, M. O., & Biderman, C. (2011). Housing Informality: An Economist’s Perspective on Urban Planning. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Working Paper.

[38]   The Guardian (2014). Kabul—The Fifth Fastest Growing City in the World—Is Bursting at the Seams.

[39]   Turkstra, J., & Popal, A. B. (2010). Peace Building in Afghanistan through Settlement Regularization, Settlement Regularization Afghanistan. In 46th ISOCARP Congress (pp. 1-13). Netherlands: International Society of City and Regional Planners.

[40]   UN Habitat (2003). The Challenge of Slums. Global Report on Human Settlements, Nairobi: Human Settlement Programme.

[41]   Viaro, A. (2004). What Is the Use of a Master Plan for Kabul? In Development of Kabul: Reconstruction and Planning Issues. In 10th Architecture &Behaviour Colloquium (pp. 153-163). Zurich: Federal Institute of Technology.

[42]   Wegelin, E. A. (2004). Informal Settlements and their Upgrading: Building on the Lessons of Three Decades of Experience. In Ministerial Conference on Informal Settlements in South Eastern Europe (pp. 237-342). Paris: Encyclopedia of life support system (EOLSS).

[43]   Wekesa, B. W., Steyna, G. S., & Otieno, F. A. O. (2011). A Review of Physical and Socio-Economic Characteristics and Intervention Approaches of Informal Settlements. Habitat International 35, 238-245.

[44]   Weru, J. (2004). Community Federations and City Upgrading: The Work of Pamoja Trust and Muungano in Kenya. Environment and Urbanization, 16, 47-62.

[45]   World Bank (1974). Sites and Service Projects. Washington DC.

[46]   World Bank (2005). Kabul Urban Policy, Why and How Should Kabul Upgrade Its Informal Settlements: A Policy Note (pp. 1-8).

[47]   World Bank (2016). World Development Indicators. Washington: The World Bank.