Studying housing priorities of dwellers in a slum in the Indian state of Odisha, the researchers highlight the diverse challenges and needs of the community with regard to housing and basic infrastructure facilities from the slum-dwellers’ perspective.
Namesh Killemsetty, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India; Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Michael Johnson, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Amit Patel, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
A significant number of India’s urban population living in slums face large-scale challenges to access adequate housing and essential services. However, the solutions implemented by government agencies have been inadequate as they fail to understand the diversity of challenges and preferences of slum residents.
While the traditional prescriptive approaches to study slum communities do not capture the uncertainties that riddle slums, we explore this domain of inquiry alternatively through theories of Community Operational Research (COR) and Community Based Operations Research (CBOR) that develop an understanding of housing problems from slum resident perspectives.
In this paper, we study slum communities’ housing priorities by learning how they structure their concerns and identify specific solutions that could enable access to improved housing facilities.
This is one of the first studies to apply Strategic Options Development & Analysis (SODA) and Value Focused Thinking (VFT) to engage with slum residents and generate in-depth insights into the lives of slum communities.
Our findings from a slum in the Indian state of Odisha highlight the diverse challenges and needs of the community with regard to housing and basic infrastructure facilities from the slum-dwellers’ perspective, a voice often missing in slum policymaking.
We believe that our findings could inform policymakers about most valued preferences of slum residents among many possible slum upgrading interventions.
The study contributes to the extension of Operations Research tools and methodologies for meaningful engagement of vulnerable communities to develop interventions for improving social welfare.
Published in: European Journal of Operational Research
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