ARISE Hub: Accountability and Responsiveness in Informal Urban Settlements for Equity in Health and Well-being

More than half of humanity currently lives in urban areas and 90% are projected to do so by 2050. One in three urban dwellers, and an estimated 881 million people in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) now live in informal settlements, colloquially known as ‘slums’, where they have inadequate, insecure housing and limited services. These settlements are often the only option for people working in the informal sector, and existing evidence shows that residents are often highly resourceful, resilient and innovative in navigating the problems they face daily. However, they also face challenges that appear intractable: multiple health and well-being risks and vulnerabilities, related to an unhealthy environment, insecurity and social marginalisation.

Informal urban settlements are rapidly changing, with in and outmigration and shifts in social norms, as well as being economically and socially unequal. Failures to provide services, infrastructure and mechanisms for redress by national and local governments are often linked to the presence of multiple actors and organisations including non-governmental, private and criminal organisations. These conditions can act as an incubator for various forms of violence (e.g. political and gender-based), which threaten well-being.

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Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Annie Wilkinson

Health and Nutrition Cluster Lead

Dolf J.H. te Lintelo

Research Fellow and Cities Cluster Leader

Hayley MacGregor

Research Fellow

Jaideep Gupte

Research Fellow

Jerker Edström

Research Fellow

Leah Murphy

Health and Education Convenor

Linda Waldman

Director of Teaching and Learning

Recent work

Past Event

ARISE Pandemic Portraits Exhibition Launch

Join IDS and ARISE for the launch of ‘Pandemic Portraits’, a photovoice exhibition telling the stories of people with disabilities in Liberia and Bangladesh living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition tells a visual story of the experiences of people with disabilities...

23 January 2023


The formality of informality

This blog post from the ARISE Hub - a research consortium of which IDS is a partner - provides reflections on some common misconceptions of informal settlements. Examples from ARISE research show that, contrary to common belief, processes that happen in these settlements are seldom haphazard,...

Linda Waldman
Linda Waldman & 5 others

31 August 2022


The Voice Quilt: Amplifying the voices of waste worker communities

World Day of Social Justice gives us the opportunity to reflect on and highlight the need for social justice for marginalised communities like those involved in waste work in urban spaces. On this day, ARISE is pleased to launch the Voice Quilt – a novel multi-media project that brings the...

22 February 2022


What’s health got to do with World Habitat Day?

Epidemics are a window into society. They reveal our social relationships and circumstances. The global pandemic has brought to the fore the inequalities that persist within our towns and cities. The spread and the impacts of the disease have not been even. As the world continues to grapple...

5 October 2020


IDS at the World Urban Forum

We’re excited to be participating in the upcoming Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10). Convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the World Urban Forum has become the premier international gathering for addressing the challenges of sustainable...

5 February 2020


UNGA74: governments must commit to social science for ‘health for all’

As global leaders come together for the 74th UN General Assembly, a major focus will be the High-Level Meeting: ‘Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World’ on 23 September. This is a global opportunity to mobilise the highest political support for the achievement...

19 September 2019