Wellbeing and Urban Governance: Who Fails, Survives or Thrives in Informal Settlements in Bangladeshi Cities?
Cities 72. Part B.
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In this paper we present the case for understanding towns and cities in terms of levels of human wellbeing achieved by the people who live in them.
In this study we have adopted a multi-dimensional wellbeing framework that builds upon but modifies the wellbeing framework that has been developed by the OECD in their 'How's Life' programme. We analyse wellbeing outcomes and explain how these relate to and are significant for our understanding of urban governance.
While such an inquiry is pertinent in respect of city populations generally, we have focussed on people living in informal settlements. These informal settlements are often labelled 'slums', but that title is a matter of some contention; while some regard it as derogatory others wear it as a badge of truth. Regardless of the terminology, the type of settlement that we studied plays a key role in absorbing the rapid increase of urban populations in many of the world's poorest regions.
This inquiry provides important building blocks for a new political economy of developing cities. By distinguishing who is thriving and who is failing, it begins to help us understand which of these cities and communities within them are places of opportunity for whom, and in what ways they provide pathways either to opportunity or to immiseration and indignity.