Activity: Community Talks, Presentations, Exhibitions and Events › Public lecture/debate/seminar
Water sensitive settlement upgrading in the RISE program: Involving communities in problem identification Michaela F. Prescott, Diego Ramirez-Lovering
Informal settlements, which constitute much of the Global South’s urban growth and one billion people worldwide, are subject to poor environmental and socio-economic conditions, and residents are especially vulnerable to ill-health. Inadequate water supply, sanitation and drainage lead to faecal contamination of soil and water, predisposing residents to diseases, intestinal inflammation, stunted growth, and poor cognition. Subsistence agriculture and animal keeping lead to bacteria and contamination within the environment (such as soil in chicken coops, and greywater used for irrigation) causing ill-health. Meanwhile settlements close to waterways and poorly drained areas are subject to mosquitoes, rats and other vectors, increasing risk of vector-borne diseases. Grounded in planetary health principles, the RISE program explores the interlinkages and interdependencies of changes to the built environment vis-à-vis health outcomes. While Lappan and Greening (Session 2) have described approaches to monitoring the intervention’s impact via a study of enteropathogens, we focus on the water sensitive informal settlement upgrade itself. The upgrade is underpinned by a view of interventions within settlements as complex socio-technical systems, where requirements span hardware, software, personal, and community aspects. Communities (end-users) are therefore involved in the co-development of the interventions, instead of solely the recipients of technology and infrastructure. Through community consultation we aim to identify the range of potential exposure pathways within the informal settlement, in an effort to understand how the intervention could be delivered in a site-specific manner. Through better characterisation of the range of conditions and related technical interventions, socio-technical approaches to informal settlement upgrading could be used in future to improve the effectiveness of infrastructure provision and its related health impacts.