Change is more than an all-in-one Dharavi solution


Change – more than the ‘Dharavi solution’
Short term supporting activities can be helpful – sometimes. Somehow. Some more, some less. But they do not change the general situation as long as there is no chance to revolutionize, create and grow another way of life. Focused support in huge crisis situations is without any doubt necessary. First aid. Not more, not less. But is not the same as change, On a long term view this kind of help does not really help. Supporting activities can minimize risks, bridge critical points until further support comes.
It is risky to talk about change in this case and to make people believe that things are getting better. In the worst case things are even becoming more critical than before because people believe that change has already happened.

Do you have also these pictures in mind when you think about slums? Crowded, dirty pathways, poor people living in kind of crashing stables, crime, hopelessness…
Slums are often in centers of huge cities, good areas to construct and settle wealth economy. Why do we not just build some houses for the slum habitants and do so a lot of change? Change? Or just the Dharavi solution?

Real changes needs revolution
Change is complex and needs to go back to the roots. It is not a visible activity only, but it needs to introduce a new way of thinking and living. It is not the house offered to slum habitants, but needs to answer how these people can create a better life by their own. Including education, jobs, mindset…. Change is complex. And it is for sure not made for those who want to deliver splending all-in-one solutions.

A good example is Lutz Konermanns documentary film “Dharavi, slum for sale”:
(Extract taken from

‘Bombay, India’s gateway to the West, has reinvented itself – and emerged as Mumbai, a modern, self-confident commercial metropolis. A magnet for the hopes of the rich and poor. But with thousands of migrants pouring in every day, half of its almost 20 million inhabitants is forced to live in slums, between the cracks of the official city. The biggest of these slums is called Dharavi. With an estimated 800,000 inhabitants, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Once Dharavi was outside the city limits. Nowadays it’s at the heart of a constantly growing metropolis, flanked by traffic arteries and right next door to Mumbai’s new financial hub. The former marsh has turned into prime real estate – a playground for ambitious urban planning.
Ten years ago, US-trained architect Mukesh Mehta has come back to India to usher in a new turn in Mumbai’s slum rehabilitation policies. His formula is Public Private Partnership. Billions of Dollars could be made – if the responsibility for a radical makeover of Dharavi were to be put into the hands of private investors.
The government has been persuaded by Mehta’s vision and has appointed him as the consultant for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project. While thousands of families living and working in the slum are facing the threat of being evicted, Dharavi is becoming a test case. Not only for Mumbai or India, but for the future of the underprivileged of the entire world.

“Dharavi – Slum for Sale” follows the struggle on both the planner’s and the slum dwellers’ side to achieve their respective goals. While exploring differing perceptions of what development should focus on, it gives a first hand insight into the living conditions in one of the most surprising places in human society.
Check out “Dharavi, Slum for Sale (Trailer)”

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