Making the Urban Poor Safer: Lessons from Nairobi and Maharashtra
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Mumbai and Nairobi have acutely unequal urban development, with respectively 40 per cent and 60 per cent of their urban population living in slums. The most impoverished neighbourhoods are characterised by severe lack of service provision and poor access to employment opportunities. Urban violence is deeply rooted in the multiple vulnerabilities experienced by slum-dwellers, such as lack of steady income, lack of access to amenities and lack of connection to state resources. Yet security provision fails to address violence in this broader social and economic context, while efforts at tackling urban vulnerability often do not address its links with violence and physical insecurity. Issues of under-policing, unemployment or lack of services that shape urban violence are ultimately intertwined with the difficulty faced by slum-dwellers to interact with state authorities. Formal and informal policies need to take these local realities into account while building on local experience of what works best to reduce vulnerability and minimise violence.