International Development Planning Review

The challenge of squatter settlements in Kathmandu: Addressing a policy vacuum

International Development Planning Review (2006), 28, (1), 105–126.

Abstract

Squatter settlements and slums have become widespread in many Third World cities. Numerous squatter settlements have emerged in different urban centres across Nepal in the last two decades, with Kathmandu, the capital city, being the epicentre. Increasingly, new migrants are clustering in diminishing prime open spaces and environmentally sensitive areas. Though the proportion of squatter housing is low compared to other Third World cities, it is growing rapidly. The aim of this paper is to highlight the inherent gap between the common perception of squatter settlements as unsustainable and squatters' survival strategies manifested through their claim on urban land. This is done by discussing security of tenure, finance and affordability issues associated with land and housing and the legal standing that squatters have in Nepalese law. The final section of the paper presents policy options to stir some thoughts towards planning interventions in the context of the present policy vacuum concerning squatters in Kathmandu.

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Author details

Sengupta, Urmi

Sharma, Sujeet