The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 97

Electricity to Pavement Dwellers In Mumbai


8 April 1999

Authors: Sundar Burra and Liz Riley

Publication Date: 1999

Pavement dwellers, as the term suggests, are people who have erected their homes along pavements. Pavement slums “… are a phenomenon peculiar to the largest Indian metropolises (especially Calcutta and Bombay). They are radically different from what people generally understand slums to be. They are not the jhuggi-jhopadis1 or bastis2 which spring up on vacant lots or stretches of land, but hutments actually built on the footpaths/pavements of city streets, utilising the walls or fences which separate building compounds from the pavement and street outside” (SPARC, 1985, p. 4).

In addition to using existing fences and walls as one side of their homes, pavement dwellers frequently construct the rest of their dwellings from materials such as cloth, corrugated iron, cardboard, wood, plastic, and also bricks or cement. Recycled waste products thus make up the majority of building materials for pavement shacks, affording their occupants little privacy, or protection from the weather or the dangers of passing traffic.

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