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Self-made cities

In search of sustainable solutions for informal settlements in the united nations economic commission for europe region

image of Self-made cities
Informal settlements are often characterized as “illegal” residential formations lacking basic infrastructure, security of tenure and adequate housing. This book describes how more than 50 million people in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region have come to live in informal settlements and examines the main characteristics of the phenomenon. It also provides policy recommendations based on case studies and initiatives implemented in the region, with varying degrees of success. It concludes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, as informal settlements are the product of complex socio-political processes that differ significantly from country to country and from region to region.

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Changes in governance and informal settlement formation

Recognizing the economic, social and environmental challenges of informal settlements is an important step towards the design of different policies and practical solutions to their problems. Against the backdrop of rapid growth of informal settlements and/or the persistent presence of the “informal city” in some UNECE countries local, national and international policies have steadily evolved from repressive approaches aiming to eradicate slums to a growing recognition that inefficient housing, planning and land management systems aggravate these problems.

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