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Housing Freedom, Amartya Sen and Urban Development Policies - Squatter Settlement Upgrading in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Housing Freedom, Amartya Sen and Urban Development Policies - Squatter Settlement Upgrading in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

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This is the PhD of Alexandre Apsan Frediani, completed in 2007 at the Department of Planning of Oxford Brookes Univesity.
This is the PhD of Alexandre Apsan Frediani, completed in 2007 at the Department of Planning of Oxford Brookes Univesity.

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Published by: Alexandre Apsan Frediani on Jul 01, 2013
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Housing Freedom, Amartya Sen and UrbanDevelopment Policies – Squatter SettlementUpgrading in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
ALEXANDRE APSAN FREDIANIOxford Brookes UniversityDepartment of PlanningA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement of OxfordBrookes University for the degree of Doctor of PhilosophyJune 2007
 
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Abstract
The World Bank has redirected its conceptualization of poverty based on incomedeprivation to one based on Amartya Sen’s concept of ‘development as freedom’. Asyet, evidence is inconclusive on the impact of Sen’s thinking, in practice, on theWorld Bank’s urban programmes. Academics elaborating and applying Sen’s conceptof freedom have proposed the Capability Approach which aims at moving away fromthe income-led approach to development, by focusing on capabilities as instrumentsand outcome of the development process. In this context, this thesis contributes to thecurrent discourse by examining the application of Sen’s view of ‘development asfreedom’ to the context of urban development.The concept of Housing Freedom is proposed as a framework to explore squatteupgrading interventions in terms of their ability to realize and expand capabilities. Thethesis provides an evaluation of the impact of Sen’s Capability Approach usingresearch on a classic World Bank squatter upgrading project in Novos Alagados inSalvador, Brazil. A comparison is made with a community led upgrading initiativealso in Salvador, in the neighbourhood of Calabar. This comparative evaluationunfolds key practical and theoretical issues about the conceptualisation and alleviationof poverty using Sen’s thinking. The exploration of both squatter interventionsthrough the Housing Freedom framework contributes to the clarification of therelationship between housing and poverty.This thesis argues that the World Bank urban policies are contradictory andinconsistent. Although reframing its conceptualisation of poverty to one based onmultiple aspects of deprivation, this thesis shows that the World Bank’s housing policies are still focused on the enablement of markets. Ironically, the comparison between the squatter upgrading interventions in Novos Alagados and Calabar, revealsthat the community led initiative has been a more effective executor of marketenablement strategies than the World Bank funded project.This thesis argues that Sen’s thinking could be proposed as an alternative toneoliberalism only by embracing collective and structural aspects of freedom. Themethodological contribution of this thesis is to show that the framework of HousingFreedom applied through participatory methods, provides a valid context-related andmultidimensional approach to the evaluation of squatter settlements.The thesis indicates, nonetheless, that the Capability Approach provides acomprehensive framework that safeguards the radical roots of participatory methods.Finally, the thesis recognises that the application of Sen’s concepts positivelycontributes to contemporary discourses of development, particularly in relation to theRights-based Approach, Livelihoods Approach and Social Exclusion analysis.
 
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Acknowledgements
I would like to thank all of the residents of Novos Alagados, Calabar and Mata Escurawho kindly participated in this research. Without their friendliness, trust and openness,I would not have been able to carry out this work. I would especially like to thank Del,Seu Luis and Edna from Novos Alagados. From Calabar, thanks to Dona Lindalvaand Gaiamon. The input of the youth group of ACOPAMEC from Mata Escurta wasfundamental to this research. But I could not had done anything without the guidanceof Nilza and Vera, who were the first to show me around Novos Alagados andCalabar, and who introduced me with a lot of affection and trust to residents.I would like to express my gratitude to FURS (Foundation to Urban and RegionalStudies), for the financial support provided in the second and third year of thisresearch. Also I would like to thank FURS for the travel support grant provided to goto the International Congress of Sociology, in Durban. In addition to financial support,this provided me with confidence to carry out the research.I would like to thank Professor Roger Zetter for firstly generously trusting hisintuition about me and taking me on as a PhD candidate. His supervision has beensupporting, encouraging, constructively critical and inspiring. I would also like toacknowledge Dr Rod Burgess, for his feedback on the thesis and the informal chatsthat energised me to complete this work.During the four years of doing this PhD, I got involved in many activities that wereessential to the development of this work. Members and coordinators of the HumanDevelopment and Capabilities Association (HDCA) have always been supportive andhave reassured me of the added value of the thesis. Thanks to Sabina Alkire, JohnHammock, Mario Biggeri and Enrica Chiappero. Thanks to the ArchitectureDepartment of the Universidade Federal da Bahia, who allowed me to attend seminarsand join the workshop about Mata Escura. Such activities were very influential toclarify some conceptual issues and my personal underlying motivations to undertakethis research. Thanks to Paola Berenstain Jacques. I would like to acknowledge

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