Beyond bulldozing: is slum upgrading a means to realise the right to adequate housing?

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Bell, Christina
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Despite wide recognition of the human right to adequate housing, massive violations are commonplace around the world. One billion people live in slums, 2 billion are forcibly evicted from their homes every year. Urban poverty will be one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century, with a multitude of human rights at stake. This thesis explores the legal framework of the right to adequate housing, shows the obligations of States towards its fulfilment, presents its advocates and duty-bearers, and examines the question of responsibility of the different parties. With the case of Kenya, the approach of slum upgrading, a strategy that includes physical, social, economic and environmental improvements of living conditions within existing settlements, is examined. In a further step the ability of KENSUP, the Slum Upgrading Programme of the Kenyan Government to fulfil its human rights obligations – incumbent on the State due to the treaties it has ratified – is analysed. Finally, the influence of global policy frameworks on human rights is discussed, taking the example of the Millennium Development Goals and the polemic slogan Cities without slums to illustrate the interrelation between public policy and economic, social and cultural rights.
Second semester University: Abo Akademi University.
right to housing, urban policy