Dilip D'Souza has posted a summary of civil engineer and urban planner Shirish Patel's ideas about Mumbai's squatters. Though sometimes silly (ending rent regulations to help squatters is a neocon staple and a ridiculous canard) it is a thought provoking reflection. Here's a paragraph worth cheering:
"For [the] poorest of the poor there is no option other than to identify Government-owned lands — whether by BMC [the city government], the State or Centre, the Port Trust, or any other Government organ — demarcate this into pathways and plots and allot these to them to live on. Water supply, sanitation and solid waste disposal must be provided as essential services. Densities will be low but this cannot be helped. The occupants should be permitted to build on these plots up to Ground and one upper, over time, as and when their finances permit. The plots should be open to mortgage and access to housing finance, like any other properties. At some future date, if the property is to taken up for redevelopment at a higher density, the owners should be able to recoup whatever they have invested, as in any other redevelopment."