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Urbanisation and the Human Needs of Slum Dwellers: A focus on Housing Needs in Ale Ywa Ward, HlaingTaryar Township, Myanmar

I have been working together with slum dwellers for five years and I have seen that most of slum dwellers live in very poor living conditions due to a lack of access to urban services and basic infrastructure. Most slum dwellers are seen as the main cause of social problems such as crime, alcoholism and violence. Therefore, they are marginalised in society and they are never treated respectfully. However, I realised that slum dwellers are really supportive through my experience working with slum dwellers. And also I have seen that most slum dwellers are facing poverty not because of their laziness, but because of inequality in structural management and national development planning. Therefore, I had a strong desire to explore the current problems of slum dwellers, their basic needs, how they access basic services, and the reasons behind urban poverty.

This research deals with urbanisation and basic needs, focusing on the housing needs of slum dwellers. It sets out to understand the factors behind the growth of urban areas and its impact on the basic needs of slum dwellers. Moreover, this research is to explore the role of slum dwellers in political and economic sectors. An emancipator research methodology was used involving several data collection methods including focus group discussion, semi-structure interview, questionnaire and observation. A hundred respondents including community leaders, local authority members, members of self-help groups, community based organisations, homeless slum dwellers, and squatter settlements were chosen to participate in the research. Drawing on the findings, this research recommends promoting multi-sector management rather than the current top-down management system of the government to address the lack of urban services. This research also highlights the need to encourage the participation of the marginalised urban poor who are important in both political and economic sectors’ development planning.
Van Lizar Aung 2012

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