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Hard Rain Gonna Fall: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Drainage in Informal Settlements

Inadequate drainage of stormwater, greywater and sewage plagues informal settlement ‘slum’ dwellers throughout the developing world.

Published onJan 27, 2020
Hard Rain Gonna Fall: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Drainage in Informal Settlements
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Abstract

Inadequate drainage of stormwater, greywater and sewage plagues informal settlement ‘slum’ dwellers throughout the developing world. Residents, local governments and others find drainage solutions hard to come by due both to physical challenges – densely packed shack homes and few roads or open spaces – and social challenges associated with the often contentious, turbulent and legally uncertain nature of informal settlements. While concepts of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) and integrated water resource management (IWRM) hold promise for informal settlements, we find little practical guidance available for their application in these contexts. To begin filling this gap, we propose a simple model for understanding various informal settlement contexts and ‘upgrading’ strategies that affect drainage development strategies. We then use this model to report on a series of small projects in South Africa that illustrate social and structural dynamics and practical techniques relevant to implementing collaborative drainage efforts in informal settlements.

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Jiusto, S., & Kenney, M. (2015). Hard rain gonna fall: Strategies for sustainable urban drainage in informal settlements. Urban Water Journal13(3), 253–269. https://doi.org/10.1080/1573062x.2014.991329

*denotes a WPI undergraduate student author

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