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The starting point for any city-wide or national program of upgrading should be some sort of an overarching framework of how a city copes with the problems of poverty and impoverished and under-serviced areas. The Bank is experimenting with instruments such as City Poverty Strategies that will help city governments understand the problems of poverty and develop local action plans to respond. By putting in place these kinds of strategic frameworks, upgrading projects can be better placed within a more comprehensive approach to urban poverty reduction.

At a minimum, an upgrading program should be designed within the context of the city-wide system of municipal service delivery to take into account any existing plans for future servicing of these areas, and to determine the impact of the program on the city-wide system. This is critical for the sustainability of the infrastructure and the requirements for operations and maintenance of the facilities created.

The Slum Sanitation Program

 

Mumbai, India

Similarly, there is a need to synchronize the linkages to health and education services and transport planning to ensure that these services can respond to the demand generated by program. There are also opportunities to attract the private provision of services to supplement the efforts of the public sector, ranging from social services to infrastructure and utilities.

Related to overall development of these areas, the poor need to have access to affordable microcredit, for things ranging from small business development to housing improvement. In many places, specialized institutions and financing mechanisms already exist (e.g., ACCION, SEWA) which upgrading program can link with. Where they do not exist, credit is an issue that needs to be addressed, even if it is not done through the project itself.