This summarises the findings of the Informal Work and Wellbeing in Urban South Asia (IWUSA) study, conducted from April 2014-April 2015. The research was led by the Institute of Development Studies, in partnership with the Society for the Promotion of Area Resources Centres (SPARC) and the Monitoring and Research Systems (MaRS) Pvt Limited in India, and BRAC University and ActionAid in Bangladesh.
Understanding and managing urbanisation in developing countries is one of the major global policy challenges for the first half of the 21st century. Rapidly growing towns and cities are increasingly recognised as powerhouses of economic development, employment generation and as having the potential to be great drivers of improvements in human wellbeing.
At the same time they can also be the sites of extreme impoverishment, substandard housing, dominated by informal employment, insecure and hazardous working conditions, vulnerability, environmental degradation and unrest. ‘The problem is, we don’t know which cities are performing well, and which are not, and therefore our ability to explore the determinants of wellbeing in cities, and hence to inform urban policy is limited’ (Burdett and Taylor 2011: 3-4).
This study sets out to explore the associational relationships between a variety of institutional conditions and the wellbeing outcomes for informal workers living in informal settlements in Bangladesh and India.
This study was supported by a Regional Research in Asia Grant, South Asia Research Hub (SARH) DFID.
Full project report (PDF).