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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

McFarlane, C. Sanitation in Mumbai's informal settlements: state, 'slum' and infrastructure. Environment and Planning A. 2008;40:88-107.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper examines an ongoing intervention in sanitation in informal settlements in Mumbai, India. The Slum Sanitation Programme (SSP) is premised upon ‘partnership’, ‘participation’, and ‘cost recovery’ in the delivery of large toilet blocks as a practical solution to the stark lack and inadequacy of sanitation, and offers an opportunity to interrogate a growing consensus on sanitation provision among mainstream development agencies. In the paper, I argue for a more flexible approach to policy infrastructure, technical infrastructure, and cost recovery in urban sanitation interventions. I also consider whether the SSP, as the largest city project of its nature in Indian history, marks a shift in the relationship between the state and the ‘slum’ in Mumbai. I suggest that, despite constituting a change from ad hoc sanitation provision to a more sustained and universal policy, informal settlements in the SSP remain populations outside the sphere of citizenship and notions of the clean, ordered modern city.

Department of Geography