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A Case Study of Homeless Shelters in Hyderabad, India
International Development Studies Department of Society and Globalization Roskilde University Supervisor: Bodil Folke-‐Frederiksen Student: Malte Warburg Sørensen May 2011
This report examines the establishment of homeless shelters in the Indian city of Hyderabad, focusing particularly on the attitudes of community residents towards the shelters. Using the concept of NIMBY (Not-‐In-‐My-‐Back_Yard), the dynamics of socio-‐spatial exclusion is investigated. The analysis reveals how exclusion is based on the construction of prejudices and how communities construct their opposition to shelter based on these negative perceptions. Also, the analysis shows how community opposition evolves, and how different stakeholders use a variety of strategies in order to make push their agenda forward. Finally, the report relates the findings from the analysis to broader societal issues in India, particularly the themes of governance and participation.
I would like to express my gratitude towards all the people who have helped make this report possible. Firstly, I want to thank the residents, leaders and homeless people in Musanagar, Bapunagar, Bible House, Kachiguda, Uppal and L. B. Nagar. Thank you for sharing your views and allowing me inside your homes and neighborhoods. Furthermore, I am grateful to Aparna Gayathri who helped with translation and interviews. I also received invaluable assistance from several NGOs; thank you to K. Anuradha , and the dedicated staff from Aman Vedika and thank you to Arunmai Racherla and Mirza Hamed from LSN Foundation. I am also appreciative of the assistance offered from the officials of Hyderabad Municipality; Additional Commissioner G.D. Priyadarshini, and Livelihoods Specialist V. Prasanna Kumaar. I am especially grateful to independent scholar Anant Maringanti and human rights activist Jeevan Kumar for their advice, critique, contacts and logistical support throughout the project. Lastly, thank you to Bodil Folke-‐frederiksen, my supervisor, for sharp insights and the kind of scholarly flexibility that allows students to explore their interests. 3
The house icons on the map indicate the three neighborhoods that have shelters, while the other three have either resisted a shelter or might get one in the future.
Abstract and Acknowledgements Map of Hyderabad and Shelter Neighborhoods Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Introduction……………………………………………………………………………….6 1.2 The Urban Divide and Urban Inequalities ……………………………………6 1.3 Governance, Civil Society and Participation …………………………………7 1.4 Socio-‐spatial Exclusion and NIMBY ………………………………....................8 1.5 Field Study and Research Questions ………………………………………….10 1.6 Structure of the Report …………………………………………………………….12 Chapter 2 - Case Background 2.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………13 2.2 Hyderabad -‐ An Extreme City …………………………………………………….13 2.3 The Right to Food Case and Its Connection to Shelters ………………..14 2.4 The Parallel Bureaucracy …………………………………………………………..15 2.5 Judicial Activism in India …………………………………………………………...16 Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………..18 3.2 Desktop Research ……………………………………………………………………..18 3.3 Fieldwork ……………………………………………………………………………......18 3.4 Delimitation …………………………………………………………………………......20 Chapter 4: Theoretical Framework 4.1 Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………..22 4.2 NIMBY -‐ Not-‐In-‐My-‐Back-‐Yard …………………………………………………..22
Chapter 5: Case Analysis 5.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………25 5.3 Types of NIMBY Objections ………………………………………………………..29 5.4 Stages and Dynamics of Community Resistance ……………………….....34 5.5 Approaches and Strategies of Shelter Developers ……………………….36 5.6 Reflections on Findings of Case Analysis……………………………………..39 Chapter 6: Governance and Participation 6.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………43 6.2 Public Policy and Its Consequences …………………………………………….43 6.3 Government Inaction and Grassroots Inaction ……………………………44 6.4 National Perceptions of Marginalized Groups..…………………………….45 Chapter 7 - Conclusion and Discussion 6.1 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………47 6.2 Discussion……………………………………………………………………….. ……….49 Bibliography and Appendix 5
This chapter positions the report within the general debate on urbanization and poverty. First, the theme known as the urban divide is explored and related to the idea of a holistic approach to urban planning. Secondly, issues connected to urban governance, civil society and public participation are examined. Often the urban divide is stated as the problem, and good urban governance as the solution, which is supposed to bring us towards a more inclusive and equal city. Lastly, the concept of NIMBY (Not-‐In-‐My-‐Back-‐Yard) is described and related to the patterns of socio-‐spatial exclusion. This leads to an outline of the specific field study, problem statement and research questions.
“Bridging the Urban Divide” is the title theme of the newest State of the World’s Cities report. The report highlights the “enormous gap”, the “open wound” (State of the World’s Cities, 2010: 2) between the rich and the poor, and how that gap is producing social instability. My report is also about the urban divide, but not the big one; this study focuses on the many little gaps, the many small wounds, the multiple urban divisions. Using the case of homeless shelters in Hyderabad, it focuses on the discrimination, exclusion and mechanisms of control that poor people exercise upon other poor people. Urban planning that tries to counter the urban divide is often based on a holistic approach that seeks to incorporate four broad dimensions: Economic, social, political and cultural (State of the World’s Cities, 2010: 56). Proponents of this type of holistic approach to development criticize more traditional urban plans for viewing development as a technical problem requiring technical solutions, instead of viewing it as an organic process that includes a multitude of societal dimensions. In general, the view of development underlying this study is part of 6
the broad literature in the social sciences that does not consider development to be merely a question of economic growth. The basic idea is that inequalities in cities reflect entrenched patterns of social discrimination, exclusion and informal ownership of physical space. The urban divide is not merely a question about income and consumption. Reflecting a holistic approach to planning, the city of Hyderabad has developed a city plan taking into account both social, cultural and political dimensions. The plan was developed in close cooperation with the United Nation’s Cities Alliance, and contained a specific chapter on “Basic Services to the Poor”, including sections about the “Growth of Slums and Slum Population” (Hyderabad City Development Plan, 2002: 2). However, Hyderabad still remains an extremely divided city. So why is it that cities that have adopted a pro-‐poor development plan based on a holistic approach still fail to deliver?
Homelessness A Case of Multiple Exclusions The situation of homeless people is an example of the inter-‐linkages of the four dimensions of the Urban Divide. Economic Exclusion: The homeless population is impoverished, which means that they cannot afford proper shelter. Political Exclusion: The lack of shelter forces upon them the label of being homeless. In India, a person without a permanent address cannot vote, relegating the homeless to non-‐ citizens, and hereby excluding them from formal political participation. Social Exclusion: This political non-‐identity translates into social exclusion; for example, a person without an identity card cannot obtain food ration cards and cannot use public hospitals. Cultural Exclusion: As the label of being homeless is reinforced in different ways, cultural exclusion takes hold.
Part of the answer has to do with unsuitable governance structures, lack of broad participation in decision-‐making processes, and poor capacities of planning and management, particularly the lack of coordination across national, provincial and municipal governments. A study on the experiences of urban planners in Latin America and Asia found that fewer than 25 per cent of respondents think that coordination was effective among the three levels of government (State of the World’s Cities, 2010: 127). The same report reveals that cities trying to address issues of exclusion by developing new policies, often “fail to turn [the policies] into goalposts, sustained processes or tangible results that can be monitored” (State of the World’s Cities, 2010: 127). The reason for these failures 7
often lies in the institutional frameworks themselves, since over time, they tend gradually to incorporate negative and rather inefficient attitudes, as well as corrupt social arrangements that are not favorable towards change (State of the World’s Cities, 2010: 128). An independent researcher in Hyderabad put it this way“It’s indifference and greed, that’s it. They really don’t have a very strong idea about social justice” (Maringanti, interview, 2011). So how can this situation be turned around? How can different levels of government become accountable to the citizens that they are supposed to represent? The answer to this question is one of the most widely debated themes in international development studies, indeed in social science in general. The report does not give an answer, but illustrates a number of ways that groups at different levels try to position themselves, either to maintain the high position that they already possess, or to try to ensure that their voices are heard. The case illustrates how the Supreme Court of India establishes a kind of parallel bureaucracy, on a national level, because it does not trust the traditional Indian bureaucracy. As this parallel bureaucracy exerts pressure on local municipalities, the city level officials try to manage the intensified top-‐down institutional pressure. The report also examines the way that NGOs carefully engage with the municipality; looking at how they try to advance the cause of their clients (homeless people), and at the same time preserve a favorable relation with the more powerful municipality. However, as stated earlier, the largest part of the report is dedicated to the power struggles at the community level where some of the most brutal fights over space, identity and power are fought. .
Socio-‐spatial exclusion can be understood as a complex set of processes and relationships that prevent individuals and groups from accessing resources, participating in society and asserting their rights (Notti & Meyer, 2009: 12). As regards to the spatial aspect, it should be noted that the most socially excluded are also often the most spatially distant. In this way physical distance helps safeguard social and moral distance. In Indian society these mechanisms of exclusion are particularly evident in the case of homeless people. They are 8
viewed as “anti-‐social elements”, and so communities will protest vehemently against their presence, trying to maintain a safe distance. This type of communal dynamics can also be observed in connection with the phenomenon of NIMBY (Not-‐In-‐My-‐Back-‐Yard), which broadly can be described as the protectionist attitudes and opposition that a community displays when faced by an unwelcome development (Dear, 1992: 288). The concept is part of a wider literature on human service facilities, and as such forms part of urban social geography. NIMBY can be used to assess how neighborhoods use stereotypes, sometimes unconsciously, to construct arguments for exclusion. Unfortunately, some NIMBY analysis has a tendency to characterize community protests as simple expressions of self-‐interested politics. In contrast, this report tries to remain open to the fact that NIMBY can sometimes be considered legitimate social activism, just like community groups protesting against a nuclear power plant or airport in their local area. Overall, the NIMBY framework is used to investigate the dynamics of urban exclusion, and how marginalization is structured within Indian society.
A community leader, left, in discussion with human rights activist Jeevan Kumar
As outlined above, this report uses the case of homeless shelters as an entry point to understand a variety of urban challenges. By studying the way neighborhoods in Hyderabad have opposed or accepted homeless shelters, I hope to shed light on the dynamics of socio-‐spatial exclusion, and how stigmatization is constructed and maintained in favor of the political status quo. The initial hypotheses that have directed the research are listed below. Causes for Community Opposition: I assume that there are a variety of reasons for community opposition, for example lack of space in the community or lack of involvement in the planning process. However, the prevalence of strong stereotypes about homeless people is assumed to be one of the underlying causes of community protests. Stages of Community Opposition: Based on the writings of Michael Dear, it is assumed that the way that community opposition evolves in three different stages; the youth stage, the matirity stage and the old age stage. Certain oppositional activities and tactics are thought to occur at each stage. Strategies of Shelter Developers and Communities: The strategies adopted by shelter developers in relation to the communities, for example a participatory approach versus a autonomous approach, is assumed to impact the chances of successfully establishing a shelter. Taking a participatory approach is expected to increase the chances of community acceptance. Governance and Participation: On a broader level, the actions of city governments and NGOs are believed to play a determining role in either diminishing or exacerbating urban divisions and marginalization. Specifically, the strength of the civil society and the political will of the municipality are considered paramount in relation to achieving substantial change. 10
Problem Statement: How are the dynamics of socio-‐spatial exclusion expressed in the case of homeless shelters in Hyderabad? Research Questions: 1) What are the causes for community opposition or acceptance of homeless shelters? 2) To what extent do community residents’ perceptions of homeless people influence the possibilities of establishing a shelter? 3) How do conflicts between shelter developers and communities evolve? 4) How do the strategies of shelter developers influence community attitudes towards shelters? 5) Do neighborhood characteristics shape specific responses to homeless shelters? 6) How does the case reflect socio-‐spatial exclusion in relation to the broader themes of governance and participation?
Photo from Bible House homeless shelter
Chapter 1 – Introduction: This chapter positions the report within the broad debate on urbanization and development in Asia. The report’s focus on socio-‐ spatial exclusion and the concept of NIMBY is also introduced. Finally, the chapter outlines the field study and research questions. Chapter 2 - Case Background: The chapter describes the background of the case study with a focus on the Right to Food Case and the Indian legal system. Chapter 2 – Methodology: The methodological considerations are presented and discussed, including a description of the fieldwork and a review of the methods of sample selection, interviews and community surveys. Chapter 3 – Theoretical Framework: The concept of NIMBY is discussed, including an explanation of how key NIMBY models are used in the analysis. Chapter 5 – Case Analysis: The case analysis treats the data collected at neighborhood level and includes analysis of residents’ NIMBY objections, the stages of community resistance, and the strategies used by shelter developers. Finally, the findings are reflected upon at length and related to the research questions. Chapter 6 - Governance and Participation: This chapter links the discussion of community politics to the wider themes of governance and participation. Chapter 7 - Conclusion: This chapter briefly reviews the findings from the analysis and briefly relates these to the problem statement and research questions 12
This chapter introduces the case by first giving a brief description of Hyderabad and its diversity of ethnic and religious groups. Then the Right to Food Case is presented and its connection to the court ruling on homeless shelters. Afterward, the parallel bureaucracy is described as the monitoring sustem set up by the Indian Supreme Court. Finally, the special tradition of Indian judicial activism is in explained.
Hyderabad is India’s sixth largest city with a population of more than 6 million people. It is also one of the fastest growing cities on the sub-‐continent with a decadal growth rate of 32% (Hyderabad City Plan, 2002: 3). The economy of the city has been booming for the past fifteen years and the city has established itself as a centre for IT, accounting for approximately 10% of India’s IT exports. However, Hyderabad is also an extremely culturally and socially divided city. In India the city is famous for its communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims Caste divisions are also highly pronounced in the city compared to for example Bombay.
Hyderabad Old City Photo: Kishor Krishnamoorthi
In the city’s Census Report of 1981 no less than 17 major groups of “specific collective identities” were identified in Hyderabad (Krank, 2008: 3). These included ethnic groups, such as Arabs, Marwaris, Marathas, Bohoras, Pathans, Pardhis, Jotishi, Lodha, Parsis and Andhras, and also religious groups like Shi’ahs, Sunnis, Kayasths, Khatris and Christians. Consider this diversity, there is a considerable danger of exclusion and discrimination based on group identity. In the particular case of homeless people, which is always a very hetereogenous group consisting of people from a variety of backgrounds, it can be difficult to live in an environment marked by such strong communal identities.
In April 2001, a group of activists under the banner of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) submitted a petition to the Supreme Court of India seeking enforcement of the right to food. The basic argument was that the right to food is an implication of the fundamental “right to life” enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Since the hearings of this case have proceeded in recent years, the Supreme Court of India has passed “a series of significant, and at times even historic interim orders, that have touched the lives of millions of indigent Indians living with desperate poverty and hunger” (Commissioners’ Secretariat -‐ Right to Food Case, 2005:13). The most significant orders have obliged states to provide mid-‐day meals in all public schools, programs of subsidized food to poor families and a national “Food for Work Scheme”. In general, the court ruling has had a very wide target group, ranging from school children, elderly and pregnant women to orphans and widows. In the winter of 2009-‐10 the media started reporting on homeless people freezing to death on the streets of Delhi. The public conscience was briefly stirred and the commissioners in the Right to Food case seized upon this chance to get homeless people included in the court orders. On 13 January 2010 the Commissioners wrote to the judges that “many of the winter deaths of homeless people could have been avoided had government implemented food schemes for people living on the streets and provided shelters to them.” (Mander, 2010: 3). The Supreme Court recognized the legitimacy of the case and in two nights the 14
number of shelters in Delhi doubled. Later, the court orders were widened to include all state government,who were then directed to build shelters in cities with a population of more than 1 million, or cities of special political or cultural importance. According to the order, for every 100.000 persons, one shelter should be built with the capacity to sleep 100 persons. Subsequently, a total of 62 such cities in India were identified and state governments were ordered to get the shelters ready by March 31st, 2011. For the first time, the issue of homelessness and shelters was taken up at the highest administrative levels. However, discussing shelters at meetings does not necessarily mean that the issue gets any priority on the real agenda of state politics. This is confirmed by the fact that in the state of Andra Pradesh, which has a number of large cities, only the state capital of Hyderabad has advanced on the issue of shelters. In Hyderabad the municipality produced a list of 40 buildings that could be used as potential shelters. Compared to other city governments, the list was a major step forward, and testified to the fact that some municipal officers were dedicated to the issue. According to the municipality the buildings were “unused” government buildings or community halls. Unfortunately, as we shall see later, the community halls were indeed being used. Also, the neighborhoods where the government buildings were located showed significant opposition towards the idea of allowing homeless people into their communities. As an end result, in Hyderabad, with a population of more than six million people, only six shelters have been established, which stands in stark contrast to the 40 shelters originally planned.
As a reflection of the poor implementation of the court orders by the state and city bureaucracy, the Supreme Court has set up an extensive monitoring and advisory system. This “parallel bureaucracy” basically works on three levels: On a national level the Commissioners are the central figures and report directly to the Supreme Court. On a state level, the State Advisors assemble reports and coordinates the activities of NGOs. On the city level, various activist groups and NGOs conduct shelter visits, produce audits on quality and make enquires in 15
response to complaints, which are then sent back upwards into the system. No attempt is made to disguise the political orientation of the whole operation, and connections between the Supreme Court and human rights activists is clear in many official documents. A good example of this is the fact that the Special Commissioner for the Right to Food is the former director of ActionAid India, one of the country’s most prominent rights-‐based NGOs. Furthermore, the language employed by both the Supreme Court, the Commissioners and the State Advisers is very bluntly inspired by social justice ideals. The establishment of this extensive, alternative bureaucracy is not, however, a special case. In many other instances, the Supreme Court has established similar structures based on their genuine distrust of the formal Indian state bureaucracy. Skeptics have criticized this parallel bureaucracy for being undemocratic since no elected representatives have any power in deciding who gets appointed and who does not. Also, within the ranks of leftwing sympathizers, there is a concern that the system is weak because, to some extent, it relies on the goodwill of a few individual judges. The fear is that if these judges are replaced, then the whole structure will crumble (Maringanti, 2011, interview). However, this type of judicial activism has been a characteristic of the Indian Supreme Court for more than four decades, and in recent years it has only grown stronger.
Wikipedia defines judicial activism as “Judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law”. In the Anglo-‐ Saxon tradition, judicial activism is generally used as a negative term to describe judges who are not able to perform their duties neutrally. More generally, judicial activism is considered to be closely related to constitutional interpretation and separation of powers. However, in India, another tradition exists, illustrated by this quote from a former Indian Chief Justice: ”Judges can and should adopt an activist approach. There is no need for judges to feel shy or apologetic about the law creating roles” (Bhagwati, 1977: 1). He continues to describe how “The judge infuses life and blood into the dry skeleton provided by 16
the legislature and creates a living organism appropriate and adequate to meet the needs of the society” (Bhagwati, 1977: 2). Knowing that this is the dominant way of thinking within the Indian Supreme Court makes it easier to understand the Right to Food case. The fact that a civil rights group can make a court case on behalf of millions of poor people, and the fact that human rights activists are appointed “Commissioners”, and the fact that a huge parallel bureaucracy is established to counter corruption in the original bureaucracy; all of this is only possible because of the existence of special type of judicial activism. However, as one expert jokingly said “Right now, if you’re leftwing in India, you probably love the Supreme Court. But what if the judges get replaced with rightwing people? That might change your opinion about the greatness of judicial activism” (Maringanti, 2011: Interview).
In this chapter the methods are presented and evaluated in order to give the reader a sense of the methodological strengths and weaknesses. The fieldwork and empirical data have been given priority, and so the methods have been chosen according to their relevance to case studies and fieldwork data collection. First, I briefly describe the desktop research, and then I move on to describe the progression of the fieldwork, including descriptions of the specific methods of sample selection, interviews and community surveys. Lastly, I comment on some of the limitations of the report.
Research is rarely a linear process, especially not when it includes fieldwork. This project was based on a broad interest in Indian society, and only gradually did I narrow in on a specific topic, geographical location, method and theoretical framework. The initial desktop research consisted of broad readings and personal mind maps to identify research interests. Then concept notes were written, which were used in discussions with my supervisor. Later, I began a series of email correspondences and long-‐distance telephone interviews with Indian researchers. These were very beneficial in identifying potential case studies, and identifying local contacts. After having decided to study homeless shelters in Hyderabad, I began a literature review of homelessness and socio-‐ spatial exclusion, which helped in locating knowledge gaps.
Below I describe the three primary methods used during the fieldwork; sample selection, interviews and community surveys. The fieldwork itself lasted three weeks and can be divided into four phases. In the first phase I conducted a series of introductory interviews and site visits. Then I carried out a number of in-‐ depth interviews with experts and community residents. Thirdly, the community surveys were done. Finally, I did a presentation of my findings at one of the 18
shelter NGOs, which lead to a discussion that generated new insights. Writing and reflection was an ongoing process. Sample Selection - Case Study as a Method: After having visited a few neighborhoods and homeless shelters, I decided to focus my data collection on six locations. The strategy used for selection was “information-oriented”, which means that cases were ”selected on the basis of expectations about their information content.” (Flyvbjerg, 2004: 426). In order words, the critical dimension in my study was the homeless shelter: I wanted to examine a variety of shelter situations in a variety of neighborhoods. I needed neighborhoods that had accepted the shelter, while others needed to have opposed and rejected it. I also wanted to include a community that had been designated as a future location of a shelter. The reason for choosing such varied sub-‐samples was to obtain information about process and outcome: Why had some communities accepted the shelter, while others had rejected it? And how were community residents reacting when faced with the prospect of hosting a future shelter? Interviews: Individual interviews were conducted with four categories of people; municipal staff, community leaders, NGOs and a small group of academics and human rights activists. A total of 17 interviews were conducted of approximately 45 minutes each. Three group interviews were also carried out with homeless people at three different shelters. The method used was qualitative semi-‐structured interviews, which meant that interviews were structured around key themes, but still flexible enough to allow natural diversions. The interviews with municipal staff, community leaders, and NGOs concentrated on the recent attempts to establish night shelters, their perceptions about their own roles and those of other stakeholders. The group interviews with shelter clients were conducted in order to gain a better understanding of the homeless people’s own perception of the functioning of the night shelters and their view on homelessness as social phenomenon. 19
Community Surveys: The community surveys were conducted in four communities with a total of 33 respondents. The aim of the surveys was not to gather statistical data, but merely to get an impression of the opinions circulating within the community. Initially, the survey was done using a rather extensive questionnaire (see appendix 2), but it was quickly reduced to a few basic questions. If a respondent wanted to elaborate on his or her answers this was allowed. In this way, approximately 1/3 of the encounters turned into interviews of 5-‐15 minutes duration.
Language and translation is always a challenge as information can get distorted to a considerable degree. For example, both the translator and the interviewee might leave out important details for a variety of reasons; maybe because some things are simply considered common sense and taken for granted, or maybe some things are considered impolite or insensitive. In relation to the levels of analysis, this report has prioritized an analysis of the community level, while not giving less attention to the city, state or national level. The reason for this is a keen interest in the micro dynamics of exclusion, but also because access to high level officers and key documents proved difficult. Overall, the focus has been on socio-‐spatial exclusion, however if time had allowed, many other theoretical perspectives could have been brought in, for example the concept of power and community surveillance, the Right to the City, or a stronger focus on identity as understood in social constructivism.
Overview of Data Collection
A total of 17 interviews conducted with an approximate duration of 45 minutes each. Municipal Staff -‐ Additional Commissioner -‐ Project Officer, Shelters Project -‐ Project Officer, Uppal Political Leaders -‐ Community leader, Musanagar -‐ Congress leader, Bapunagar -‐ Cooperator, Uppal -‐ Colony president, L. B. Nagar -‐ MIM Party Representative NGOs Aman Vedika: -‐ Director -‐ Community Officer in charge of Bible House Shelter LSN Foundation: -‐ Assistant Director -‐ Community Officer in charge of Kachiguda Shelter ActionAid: -‐ Regional Manager SPARK: -‐ Director CONARE: -‐ Director Others -‐ Independent scholar -‐ President of Human Rights Forum, Hyderabad
Four community surveys conducted with a total of 33 respondents. Musanagar: -‐ 10 respondents -‐ Generally supportive of future shelter Bapunagar: -‐ 10 respondents -‐ Mostly opposed to potential shelter, but still very different opinions. L. B. Nagar: -‐ 10 respondents -‐ Very different opinions on future shelter Uppal: -‐ Only 3 respondents -‐ Respondents accepting of current shelter. Bible House: No survey conducted since the NGO in charge thought it might stir negative feelings in the community. The shelter was still in the process of being accepted within the community. Kachiguda: No survey was conducted, as this shelter was not originally part of the fieldwork.
Only 3 of the 6 communities have shelters, and all three were visisted. Bible House: Visited twice, included a 1 hour discussion with clients Kachiguda: Visted twice, included a 1 hour discussion with clients Uppal: Visisted twice, included a 1 hour discussion with clients. Note: As mentioned above, communities without shelters have been included because they represent a different reality from communities where shelters already exist.
This chapter introduces the theory that has guided both the fieldwork and the analysis. The concept of NIMBY (Not-‐In-‐My-‐Back-‐Yard) is discussed, including its most important analytical models. While reading about the theoretical framework, the reader should have in mind the broader concepts presented in the introduction.
Locating certain facilities often provokes opposition from the potential neighbors. The term NIMBY is used to describe opposition to a wide range of facilities, such as garbage dumps, dams, airports, elderly homes, psychiatric hospitals and homeless shelters. The concept came into being because municipal officers and activists wanted to understand the specifics of neighborhood opposition in order to overcome it. NIMBY can best be described as a framework for understanding socio-‐spatial stigma. In this way, it brings together a variety of concepts in order to analyze and understand conflicts connected to siting human service facilities. The most widely spread definition was coined by Michael Dear as he defined NIMBY as ”The protectionist attitudes of and oppositional tactics adopted by community groups facing an unwelcome development in their neighborhood” (Dear, 1992: 1). A literature review shows that early studies on NIMBY have generally been preoccupied with measuring attitudes towards various marginalized groups or the different types of residential facilities. These studies asked people how they they would feel having certain groups living in their neighborhoods (Piat, 2000; 12). Over time different specific measures of attitude have also emerged, for example the Social Distance Scale (Piat, 2000: 12). However, more recent studies have tried to identify the specific variables that may cause or predict the NIMBY phenomenon. This more recent development of analytic categories and models 22
Models: The NIMBY Iceberg: This model, developed by Jeannie Wynne-‐Edwards, connects three aspects of community opposition. Firstly, it assesses the types of arguments and objections that community residents might raise. Secondly, it examines “the stage or place that such objections are expressed” (Wynne-‐ Edwards, 2003: 35). Lastly, it illustrates the approach or strategy that shelter developers can employ to overcome community opposition. Strategies of Facility Developers: This model, developed by Michael Dear, describes the different strategies, or non-‐strategies, deployed by facility developers to secure the siting of the facility. The “low-‐profile” or “autonomous” approach tries to establish the facility without the knowledge of the neighborhood, hoping that they will accept its presence once it is already there. The “high-‐profile” or “collaborative” approach actively tries to build a relationship with the community in order to secure cooperation. Three-‐stage Cycle of Community Resistance: According to this model, also developed by Michael Dear, community resistance develops in a three-‐stage cycle. The “youth stage” describes when the news of the proposal breaks and where the opposition is usually confined to a small vocal group very near the proposed development. The “maturity stage” is the period where conflict is solidified, and the debate moves away from private complaints and into a public forum. If the conflict is not resolved, the next step is described as the “old age stage” where the conflict gets drawn out. Victory tends to go to those with the persistence and stamina to keep going. All these three models will be used in the analysis in an attempt to understand the specifics of siting homeless shelters in an Indian context. The strength of the models is that they ground the analysis firmly on real statements and arguments put forth by local actors. According to Takahashi (Takahashi , 1998: 81) such 23
analysis can help reveal how NIMBY politics ”maintain, enforce, and reinforce community boundary definitions, resulting in the maintenance of spatial relations of stigma.’’
Lockers used for storing personal belongings at Kachiguda shelter 24
The case analysis investigates the dynamics of establishing homeless shelters, focusing on the two main stakeholders: The community on one side and the shelter developers on the other. The analysis consists of four parts where I start out by providing an overview of the shelters and neighborhoods and explaining the “NIMBY Iceberg”. Then the data collected at neighborhood level is analyzed using a number of NIMBY models. First, the different types of NIMBY objections, which were uncovered during the community surveys, are categorized and analyzed. Then I go on to investigate the types of resistance and opposition tactics employed by the communities. Afterwards, the specific strategies (and non-‐strategies) by the shelter developers are examined. Finally, I conclude the chapter by relating the findings of the analysis to the research questions.
A municipal officer writes down notes at meeting with NGOs
A municipal officer writes down notes at meeting with NGOs
Neighborhood & Shelter Overview
In order to present the complex processes of NIMBY dynamics in a tangible way, I have decided to use the illustration of a “NIMBY Iceberg”. The model, developed by Jeanne Wynne-‐Edwards, connects three key aspects of NIMBYism. On the left side, it presents the different types of NIMBY objections, which range from specific arguments related to “project”, for example objections against the physical location of a shelter, to arguments based purely on prejudice. Secondly, it describes the stage, meaning both the place-‐specific forum where objections are raised, and the time-‐specific evolution of the conflict. Thirdly, on the right side, it describes the approaches or strategies that shelter developers might use in order to overcome community resistance. The analysis that follows is organized around these three aspects, however, since the model is a combination of different scholarly work, additional theory and models support it.
Source: Wynne-‐Edwards, 2003: 35
The community surveys detected twenty different types of NIMBY objections to the presence of shelters. Below I group those arguments into five different categories, as has been suggested by the framework developed by White & Ashton. Five Types of NIMBY Objections Process Project Presage Pretext Objections that relate to criticism of land use regulations and the public participation process. Objections that comment on the physical characteristics of the proposal. Objections that are largely speculative in nature about the proposal and were not confirmed or supported with evidence. Comments that indicate that the issue is not exclusively related to the process itself, but to prior conditions or previous development experiences in the community.
Adapted from -‐ White & Ashton, 1992, p.36
By categorizing the arguments it becomes possible to see what type of arguments are most common, and in this way understand what the community thinks about the shelter, and what the main reasons for opposition are. Process: Objections that relate to criticism of land use regulations and the public participation process. There was no anti-‐shelter argument that related to criticism of land regulation, but a few related to lack of public participation. I can only speculate about the reasons, but two aspects might be significant. Firstly, the shelter developers were not constructing new buildings, but simply occupying old ones, which means that use of land was not being changed. Also, the general awareness of 29
legal regulations of land might be very low, which means that people do not consider this opportunity. In relation to public participation a group of political leader complained about the lack of involvement. Also, the community a Kachiguda raised this issue. In general, though, it can be argued that people do not generally have high expectations in terms of the municipality involving them in decision-‐making processes. Project: Objections commenting on the physical characteristics of the proposal. Argument 1: Inappropriate building -‐ “We are already using our community hall for weddings and other community activities.” This was one of the most common arguments. It also seems very legitimate; since many of the community halls were indeed being used for wedding ceremonies, religious celebrations, dance lessons, karate classes, etc. A sub-‐argument often repeated was that people in the community were so poor that they did not have the money to rent a private function hall and therefore could only use the community hall. In this way, their own poverty became an argument against sharing the limited resources with others.
Community hall used for scholling in Musanagar
Argument 2: Lack of space -‐ “Our neighborhood is already too crammed, there is no space here.” This argument was only used by people in the neighborhoods of Mushanagar and Bapunagar where the lack of space was indeed a major obstacle to any new construction. Presage: Objections that are largely speculative in nature about the proposal and were not confirmed or supported with evidence. Argument 1: Non-‐belief in shelters -‐ “It does not make sense to make a shelter because they (the clients) will leave within 2 weeks anyway. They have that roaming behavior.” The belief that homeless people have a special “roaming” behavior was widespread. In some cases it is true that homeless people who have been without shelter for many years will feel unease living inside a room. However, based on experiences with shelters in Delhi, it is clear that most homeless people will not leave after two weeks. Argument 2: Declining property values -‐ “If someone got the idea of putting a shelter here, people would fight it, also because property values might go down.” Only one person mentioned property values as an argument to fight the establishment of a shelter. This is interesting, since the property value argument is one of the most widely cited in for example the US and Canada. A reason for this difference might be that most of the interviewees lived in poor neighborhoods that are not part of the formal real estate market. Pretext: Comments that indicate that the issue is not exclusively related to the process itself, but to prior conditions or previous development experiences in the community. Argument 1: Misuse of facility -‐ “Such a place will be misused by others. They will bring prostitutes here, they will hang around and play cards. Also, people with power might want to use it for their own purposes”.
A few individuals stated that a shelter would probably end up being used for other means if it was not carefully managed. Such worries seemed to be based on previous experience with similar projects, however, no details were obtained. Prejudice: Objections that clearly or implicitly are aimed at the occupants of the housing proposal. More than eight different types of arguments based on prejudice was leveled against the shelter clients. Argument 1: Trouble Makers -‐ “I have nothing against homeless people, but in the long run problems might occur. So it would be better to place them outside the city or just further away.” This was the most frequently expressed prejudice. It indicates that people do not consider themselves prejudiced, but still the argument does not conceal the fact that residents want homeless people to be located as far away as possible. Argument 2: Otherness -‐ “Homeless people are not from here.” This argument was put forth very often, and it became clear that “not from here” included a variety of identity markers such as caste, religion and language. Argument 3: Lack of family -‐ “Homeless people have no family.” This argument is closely related to Otherness. However, the twist is that people assume that if a homeless person is not together with his/her family then it must be because they have done something wrong, for example committed a murder or stolen something. Argument 3: Disease -‐ “Homeless people might have communicable diseases.” This extreme form of discriminatory thinking might be related to ideas of caste and strong religious binaries of purity/impurity. In India low caste people were often required to cover their mouths with their hands when they spoke, because upper castes were afraid of getting “polluted” by their breath. 32
Argument 4: Crime -‐ “Homeless people are criminal or attract crime.” Many interviewees gave examples of things gone missing in the vicinity of homeless people . Also, there is a widespread fear that homeless people are escaped prisoners. Argument 5: Drug addiction -‐ “Homeless people are drug addicts.” Knowledge about drugs is extremely limited. There is little knowledge about the bio-‐physical effects of drugs, which means that many people think that drug addicts are simply weak-‐willed in relation to quitting their addiction. Begging: “Homeless people are beggars”. In India, as in many other countries, begging is looked down upon. Furthermore, in India there is a fear that beggars also steal. Alcoholism: “Homeless people are alcoholics”. In India, as in many other countries, alcoholism is closely associated with theft, violence and inappropriate behavior. Many people mentioned that they did not want their children to be near alcoholics. Pro-shelter arguments In the literature on NIMBY little attention is given to pro-‐shelter arguments by residents. However, Michael Dear briefly describes that such arguments are often based on “humanistic or religious values”. Indeed, the pro-‐shelter arguments in Hyderabad seemed to be mostly founded on ethical considerations. Argument 1: The Right to Shelter -‐ “Today we have a house, but tomorrow I might not, so how can I deny others a roof over their head?” Argument 2: Class-‐based Solidarity: “We are poor and they are poor, so we understand these people.” Surprisingly, it was not possible to identify any pro-‐shelter arguments based on religious ideas. This seems might be due to translation issues. 33
Reflections on NIMBY-objections Looking at the statements above two types of anti-‐shelter arguments stand out as the most common. Firstly, the most common anti-‐shelter arguments are based on prejudices and hostility against homeless people. The other most cited argument was that the community halls were already being used, which is an argument more directly related to the specific logistics of the project. Considering these two arguments, it becomes clear that the municipality has made a mistake in suggesting that shelters should be located in community halls. Also there is a need to work with the communities in order to sensitize them about the situation of homeless people. Another insight from the community surveys is that in India ethnicity seems much more important as a cause for discrimination compared to the US. In general it might seem surprising that so much prejudice was openly expressed. Because according to the NIMBY Iceberg, prejudice is located below the surface and is supposed to only be “found in private arenas, not usually vocalized”. Apparently, value judgments about marginalized groups do not seem taboo in Hyderabad.
Oppositional tactics and types of resistance to homeless shelters include a broad range of actions. In much of the NIMBY literature, community opposition is described using conflict resolution theory. However, in my analysis below, I will limit myself to a simple three-‐stage model (Dear, 1992: 290) and use this to examine the opposition observed in Hyderabad.
Three-stage Cycle of Community Resistance
News of the proposal breaks, lighting the fuse of conflict. Opposition tends to be confined to a small vocal group residing very near to the proposed development. NIMBY sentiments are usually expressed in a very direct way, often reflecting an unthinking response by opponents. Maturity The conflict is solidified as the two sides assemble supporters. The debate moves away from private complaints and into a public forum. As a consequence, the rhetoric of opposition becomes more rational and objective. Old Age The period of conflict resolution is often long, drawn-‐out, and sometimes inconclusive. Victory tends to go to those with the persistence and stamina to keep going. Typically, at this stage, some kind of arbitration process is adopted, using professional or political resources. (Dear, 1992: 290)
Youth The initial reaction of the community depends a lot on the approach of the shelter developer. In the case of the shelter in Uppal, the responsible municipal officer had collected a list of the homeless persons who might stay at the shelter if it was opened. This sent a signal to the community that the municipality was well organized, and at the same time they knew what kind of people to expect at the shelter. All of this facilitated a less hostile attitude from the community. In contrast, in Bapunagar neighborhood, the community had not been properly informed about the shelter, which caused a violent reaction on the opening day. A group of more than 10 youths gathered and drove the shelter developers out of the area. Maturity During the mature stage of the conflict, a broad range of actions was observed in Hyderabad. In the neighborhood of Kachiguda, a group of residents gathered and staged a “dharna”, which is a form of public protest used during India’s independence movement. In Bapunagar, the residents started lobbying the local elected representative, who had originally been positive towards the establishment of a shelter. After internal discussions amongst a group of residents in Uppal, a formal complaint letter was sent to the municipality. After the complaint had been sent, the municipal officer organized a meeting where the presence of a trusted senior politician helped pave the way for community approval. After the Uppal community had accepted the shelter, the community came forward to offer support to the shelter, like second hand food and clothes. Old Age: As mentioned by Dear, violent or illegal action is relatively rare, however, at the Bible House shelter one of the staff was physically assaulted by residents. The reason was that anger and frustration had been building up, which was trickered by the fact that some of the homeless clients had been making noise and sleeping in the neighborhood outside the shelter. One of the reasons why the conflict did not escalate was that the municipality had other offices in the same building who had actively entered into a dialogue with the community residents. In this way 35
they had been able to calm down the community. During the old age stage, it sometimes becomes unclear to both the community and the shelter developers whether or not a conflict has been resolved. In the case of Bapunagar, the community clearly considered the case closed, while the NGO that was trying to establish the shelter still believed that there might be a chance to reopen. Reflections on Stages and Dynamics of Community Opposition Reflecting on the type of opposition dynamics observed in Hyderabad, it is clear that Dear’s three-‐stage cycle should be understood as a generalized model. It cannot accurately describe the processes in any of the neighborhoods. Group dynamics and the type of community leadership seem to be two of the most important factors in determining the way that a conflict might evolve. Furthermore, the strategy chosen by the shelter developer also influences the final outcome to a significant degree. All of these aspects will be examined further in the following section.
Reviewing the history of siting human facility services, Michael Dear describes four different approaches that facility providers have taken towards host communities.
Low-profile / Autonomous High-profile / Collaborative Risk-free Locations: Fair-share Principles: Developers secretly establish the facility hoping that by the time its operation is discovered, it will already have demonstrated its successful integration into the neighborhood. This approach seeks to involve the host community. It grants relative priority to the community’s right to be informed of and participate in decisions affecting their neighborhood. Developers seek out risk-‐free locations, which means locations where the host community is more thought to be more tolerant because of more mixed land use and less homogenic communities. Fair-‐share principles is a strategy by municipalities fair-‐share principles are implemented to ensure that ensure all the city’s communities share the responsibility of hosting certain facilities.
(Dear, 1992: 294) 36
The work in Hyderabad, and other major cities around India, is clearly the first large experiment with homeless shelters in Indian history. This makes it particularly interesting to observe the approaches adopted by shelter developers. In the following I use the four strategies described above to examine the approaches taken by stakeholders in Hyderabad. Low-profile - Autonomous: In Kachiguda neighborhood the responsible NGO established the shelter without giving notive to anybody. Just as the shelter was about to open, they then invited the local political leader to inaugurate the place. The community was initially skeptic, but was later convinced by the shelter manager who gave them his card, address and contact number, and assured them that he would take personal responsibility for the management of the shelter. When the same NGO tried a similar strategy in Bapunagar neighborhood, it failed. The community in Bapunagar is from the scheduled tribe Lambardi, which is a nomadic ethnic group infamous for their rash temperaments. In the area around Bible House the responsible NGO tried out a semi-‐low-‐profile approach in as much as they did contact the community leaders, but not in a particularly planned way. The attempt at community involvement later backfired when elected representatives became bitter and turned against the shelter. High-profile - Collaborative: In Uppal neighborhood a dedicated municipal officer was able to implement and succeed with a high-‐profile approach where she involved the community from the beginning. She involved a number of respected leaders and officials, while at the same time conducting meetings with residents. She also gave concessions to the community and gave them assurances in different ways, for example saying that the municipality would provide a watchman, that it would only be a women’s shelter, and that the shelter would be closed down if any problems occurred.
Risk-free Locations: So far none of the shelter developers have actively formulated a strategy of seeking out risk-‐free locations, but based on their difficulties with certain communities and community halls, they have begun discussing it informally. A municipal officer, who wanted to establish a large shelter, had found a location in a commercial area in downtown, which she descried as a risk-‐free location in the sense that “There is no community to throw us out, since there are only small shops in that area” (anonymous, 2011, interview). Fair-share Principles: The Hyderabad Municipality has no fair-‐share principles and it does not seem likely that any will be developed in the foreseeable future. From the list of buildings proposed for future shelters, all the structures were located in poor neighborhoods. At the same time, there has not been any political demand from these neighborhoods that fair-‐share principles should be devised. The reason for this is probably that no community has yet been saturated by human services facilities, simply because the municipality has established so few facilities of any kind. Also, many neighborhoods might not have the political imagination or capacity to challenge the municipality to create such new legislation. The analysis of strategies of shelter developers reveals a number of things. Firstly, it appears that the categories devised by Dear are not sufficient to describe what has been happening in Hyderabad; both the NGOs and the municipality have not had a conscious strategy or based their actions on training or guidelines. To some extent their approach has been “ad hoc planning” based on personal intuition and individual experiences. However, an interesting development is that an alliance of NGOs have come together to launch a sensitization campaign, which was financed by the municipality. In this way, the emerging strategy preference in Hyderabad seems to be a high-‐profile approach. 38
One of the most significant findings in the neighborhood analysis is that the processes surrounding each shelter have been extremely varied. However, is it possible to observe any overall patterns? The answer appears to be yes. In the following I will re-‐assess the findings from analysis and relate them to five of the six research questions, the sixth research question on governance and participation will be treated in the next chapter. Lastly, I make some broader reflections on the usefulness of NIMBY as an analytical tool. Causes for Community Opposition: The first research question asks what the causes for community opposition towards the homeless shelters might be. The analysis has revealed that there can be any number of reasons for rejecting a shelter, however two major causes appeared significant in Hyderabad. Firstly, the prejudices and hostility in the communities against homeless people are pervasive. In general it might seem surprising that so much prejudice was openly expressed. Because according to the NIMBY Iceberg, prejudice is located below the surface and is supposed to only be “found in private arenas, not usually vocalized”. Apparently, value judgments about marginalized groups do not seem taboo in Hyderabad. Considering this, it becomes clear that both the NGOs and the municipality have underestimated the degree of hostility towards homeless people as a marginalized group. Another important cause for opposition was the fact that the community halls, which the municipality had suggested as shelter locations, were already being used by the community. To assume that the communities would willingly let go of their community halls was a fundamental mistake by the municipality. The name itself, “community hall”, should warn officials and NGOs that the community naturally feels ownership towards that building. Actually, the municipality’s misjudgment seems so big that it poses a new question: Did the municipality know that the community halls would never work out as sites, but simply go ahead in order to just let the case fizzle out in a quirk mire of local 39
resistance? Based on conversations with municipal officers, it seems unlikely that they had such a shrewd plan, but the question remains unanswered. The Influence of Perceptions of Homeless People: The second research question asks to what extent community perceptions of homeless people might influence the possibility of establishing a shelter. As mentioned above, the prejudices of community residents have been confirmed as one of the major reasons for opposition. It is evident that these stereotypes function as building blocks for exclusion. However, out of all the different groups of homeless people it seems that young or middle-‐aged males from low castes and low-‐class appear to be the most discriminated against. At least this was the group that people had the deepest fear of. Many of the prejudices also bordered on literal misconceptions. For example, many community residents perceived homelessness to be a sort of mental disorder, which clearly would only add to their fear and thus discrimination. Also, homelessness was perceived by many to be chronic and somewhat contagious. These findings pose more profound questions, such as; how do certain prejudices come to make sense to people? What is the frame they use to make sense of their world? What are the ideological resources that people have at their disposal to create meaning? The Evolution of Community Opposition The third research question asks how conflicts between shelter developers and communities evolve. As mentioned earlier it is difficult to observe any particular pattern as regards to the development of conflicts between the stakeholders. However, the strategy chosen by the shelter developer and the characteristics of the neighborhood surely makes a difference. Also group dynamics and the type of leadership found in the community will be determining in setting out the course of the conflict. In relation to leadership it was interesting to notice how much the communities differed. In some communities people refused to talk to before we had spoken to the leader. During the community surveys many residents simply said that they did not have any opinion and that they would do whatever the leader decided. However, in other communities, particularly the
ones in newly established peri-‐urban areas, this kind of centralized decision-‐ making was completely absent. The Significance of Strategies and Non-strategies by Shelter Developers The fourth research question asks how the strategies of shelter developers might influence community attitudes towards shelters. As mentioned above, it appears that the strategy categories developed by Dear; low-‐profile, high-‐profile, risk free-‐locations and fair-‐share principles, are not sufficient to describe the developments in Hyderabad; both the NGOs and the municipality have not had a conscious strategy. However, shelter developers that adopted a high-‐profile collaboratory approach later in the process reported more success than those organizations focusing less on involving the community. Another aspect is the importance of how opponents try to frame each other. Some of the NGO staff clearly framed the communities as being selfish and cold hearted for not allowing the development of the shelters. This kind of framing is typical in NIMBY conflicts where one side tries to undermine the actions of the other. Similarly, the communities tried to frame the shelter developers by labeling them as unprofessional and disorganized. Some community leaders accused the NGOs for not having involved them in the process and hereby denying them of the chance to participate. However, it should also be noted that many NGO staff and community members had a very nuanced view of the conflicts and genuinely listened to the arguments put forth by the other side. Neighborhood Characteristics as a Determining Factor: The fifth research question asks if certain neighborhood characteristics shape the attitudes of communities towards shelters. This questions has not been treated in a specific section of the analysis, but can be answered by connecting a number of observations. One clear point is that a heterogeneous community will often be more accepting towards shelters than very homogenous neighborhoods For example, the religiously mixed community of Musanagar seemed relatively accepting towards the establishment of a shelter. In contrast the ethnically closed knit Lambardi community in Bapunagar appeared very hostile towards outsiders. Other homogeneous groups that seemed very intolerant towards 41
homeless people were found in richer areas. However, here their homogeneity was not based on ethnicity, but rather on lifestyle and economic status. An interesting observation in relation to class was that many people expressed a belief that poor neighborhoods would be more accepting towards shelter than wealthier neighborhoods. However, the community surveys showed that poor neighborhoods were as opposed to homeless people as others. In fact, the poor neighborhood of Warasiguda staged a public demonstration against a proposed shelter, while the middle class area of Uppal ended up accepting the shelter.
Although most community opposition arguments are rooted in local attitudes, community resistance is not purely a local phenomenon. It is also tied to wider discourses that stigmatize particular groups and behaviors, and to institutional sources of power. This part of the report is a short attempt to link some of the issues in the neighborhood analysis to broader themes and struggles. The reflections are not based on a strict theoretical framework, but instead structured loosely around the concept of inequitable exclusion alliances, which was formulated by a group of researchers around Barbara Tempalski. The concept describes how local NIMBY phenomena are linked to higher systemic levels of government and national culture. They specifically investigate how NIMBY is connected to three areas; public policy, government inaction and national perceptions of marginalized groups (Tempalski et. al., 2007: 1251). The reflections below are structured around the same three themes and should be seen as an attempt to answer the sixth research question on governance and participation.
In relation to public policy, Tempalski et. al. use the example of drug addicts to describe three ways that harmful policies can affect marginalized groups: Firstly, harmful policies increases elite and lay tendencies to discriminate broadly, thereby increasing resistance to facilities offering services to marginalized groups. The Bombay Act of Begging is an example of such policies in India. The act was passed under British rule, but is still in place today and continues to frame the practices of general harassment of homeless people. The arrests of street vendors who are often homeless, and the confiscation of their goods, are other examples (Cardo Report, 2001: 3). 43
Secondly, Tempalski et. al. argue that discriminatory policies increase the rate of incarceration of marginalized groups, in this case homeless people. In Hyderabad stories of imprisonment were widespread. In fact, one of the homeless shelters was located right opposite a police station, but only three persons used it. Other homeless people confirmed that they stayed away from the shelter due to fear of the police. Another example of harassment is illustrated by stories of Bill Clinton’s visit in 2005 where masses of people had been loaded onto trucks, transported out of the city and left on the periphery. Thirdly, Tempalski et. al. mention how discriminatory policies create barriers to safe living practices under the guise of policing and law enforcement actions. For example, they describe how the US “War on Drugs” has fuelled community opposition to drug addicts and how political leaders at city, state and national level have contributed to stigmatization by commenting negatively on drug addicts in the media. In India the discussions about creating “world class” cities in order to attract foreign direct investment has formed the backdrop of broad hostility towards homeless people. For example, the evictions of homeless pavement dwellers for “loitering” and “disorder” and the tearing down of make-‐ shift shelters create exactly the kind of barriers to safe living that Tempalski describes.
Commenting on the second aspect; institutional and political (in)action and opposition, it is described how political resistance towards establishing certain facilities is widespread among politicians because they fear loosing votes. Tempalski et al. show that providing crucial facilities are not always high on the political agenda. Reflecting this, one activist said: “There are only two things that motivate Indian politician, and that is money and vote banks. If cannot offer them one of these, your project probably won’t take off” (Jeevan Kumar, 2011, interview). Furthermore, Tempalski et. al. argue that the failure of governments to initiate national programs to support marginalized groups often results in the responsibility being shifted to states and cities, and that this often results in a very varied, and often poor, response. The fact that the state government was 44
completely absent from the process of establishing the shelters also testifies to an astonishing lack of political and bureaucratic will. The lack of fair-‐share principles in siting is a good example of how important legislation simply does not exist. Also, the decision to only locate shelters in poor areas shows that that state and local governments are predisposed to favoring more wealthy urban residents. On a broader level, the whole tradition of Indian judicial activism and the recent rulings of the Supreme Court can be understood as a reaction to government inaction. The fact that the initiative comes from the Supreme Court and not the government indicates that political will is lacking. The fact that the move to establish shelters is not rooting in party politics might be a part of the reason why things are moving so slow. The local governments might not feel the same urgency towards establishing the shelters as if the order had come from their political headquarter. Another reason why the shelters are not been established is that there is no mobilized movement behind the demands. The court ruling comes from the central capital of Delhi and lacks local rooting. Basically, the homeless people are not organized in such a way that they can put pressure on the municipalities. One of the reasons for this is that many of the organizations working with homeless people in Hyderabad are not very attentive towards politics and political mobilization. However, there are signs in other cities that such movements have grown and become powerful. Also, during my time in Hyderabad, the clients in the Bible House shelter decided to form a “Homeless Workers Association”, which might help them to carve out some space for themselves in urban politics.
In relation to the third aspect; national perceptions of marginalized groups, the significance of public images is explored. Tempalski et. al. describe how media, business and various institutions contribute to producing certain images that reinforce stigma. Speaking broadly about stigma they conclude that “As a social 45
process, stigma operates by producing and reproducing social structures of power, hierarchy, class, and exclusion, and by transforming difference into social inequality.” The image of the homeless person as dirty works as an example: A person categorized as being dirty will automatically be excluded from all places considered clean. In an essay on the restructuring of urban space in India, Leela Fernandes explains the process above as “spatial purification” and links it to the rise of the Indian middle classes (Fernandes, 2004: 2416). This idea is confirmed by the fact that wealthy residents in Hyderabad were described as being ready to pay money to municipal officers to avoid having a shelter in their locality. According to Fernandes, a new middleclass identity is asserting itself in public discourses. She points specifically the development of new urban aesthetics and argues that “forms of local spatial politics point to the production of an exclusionary form of cultural citizenship” dominated by the middle classes. This might be true, but in Hyderabad it was clear that processes of spatial purification not only occur in connection with upper or middle class development. Spatial purification was also observed in the very poorest neighborhoods. People from all social classes expressed hostility towards the shelters and many argued that they should be placed outside the city, echoing a mentality of people zoning.
Social and spatial stigma surrounding homeless shelters have dramatic consequences for the people that need their services. As a result of the lack of shelters many homeless people quite literally die or simple never get the chance to get back on their feet. This report has examined how the dynamics of socio-‐ spatial exclusion are expressed in the case of homeless shelters in Hyderabad. Below is a brief outline of the main conclusions of the report. The causes for community opposition will always depend on the specific community or neighborhood. However, the analysis reveals that community objections are most often related to either prejudices against the marginalized group, frustration with the proposed building, or lack of involvement in the initial processes of shelter development. In continuation of this, the perceptions of community residents towards homeless people have also proved to greatly influence the chances of establishing shelters. The idea of the homeless person ignites deep-‐rooted fear and results in strong discrimination. Furthermore, the report documents that no particular patterns can be distinguished in relation to the evolution of conflicts between shelter developers and communities. However, the strategy chosen by the shelter developer and the specific characteristics of a neighborhood surely makes a difference. As regards to the strategy, it appears that organizations focusing on a high-‐profile, collaboratory approach were more successful than organizations less focused on involving the community. By comparing the characteristics of different communities and assessing their level of acceptance towards shelters, the report shows that heterogeneous communities are more likely to accept homeless shelters. On the other hand the community surveys also shows that poor neighborhoods are as likely to oppose a shelter as more wealthy areas. 47
The socio-‐spatial exclusion described in this report does not occur in a vacuum, but is closely tied to broader issues of governance and participation. The study documents this by linking the local NIMBY phenomena to public policy and government inaction. For example, the report shows how the existence of anti-‐ homeless legislation legitimizes police harassment and imprisonment of homeless people. Finally, the inaction of governments is assumed to be linked to the fact that the homeless population still remains poorly organized in terms of political mobilization. 48
How can the dynamics of exclusion be turned around so that urban space is opened up to marginalized groups? How can the negative spiral of stigmatization and discrimination be reversed? This report does no offer many answers to these questions, since the focus has been to understanding the underlying factors. However, in other reports, the answer is often formulated within the paradigm of the right to the city. This concept has evolved during the past decade to become a widespread ideal, which is has been used in connection with social action against exclusionary urban processes. In other words, the right to the city has been used as a banner under which a variety of critical voices have raised their concerns about socio-‐spatial exclusion in the cities of the world. Overall, the right to the city is the vision that tries to project a different, inclusive city contrasted with the divided city. Also, the right to the city is not to be viewed as yet another legal concept; rather, it represents “a dynamic and pragmatic combination of the multiple human rights to which urban dwellers are entitled, and that they want fulfilled” (State of the World’s Cities, 2011: 57). However, in a city like Hyderabad, the sense of a right to the city is particularly weak among newly arrived, homeless migrants. They simply do not consider that the city is somehow also theirs. The fact that they have no specific place to call home means that they also refrain from making other legitimate claims to city-‐citizenship. Considering this, a number of questions might be posed, for example: how might a rights-‐based approach be implemented in Asian mega cities like Hyderabad? What are the experiences with the right to the city in other parts of the world, particularly in Latin America? How is the right to the city related to citizenship and participation? 49
Berreman, Gerald (1972) Social Categories and Social Interaction in Urban India, American Anthropologist, University of California, Berkeley Bhagwati, P.N., interview with former Chief Justice, unknown university magazine, year unknown. Commissioners’ Secretariat, Right to Food (2005), Securing State Accountability for Right to Food - Manual for State Advisors Dear, Michael (1992) Understanding and Overcoming the NIMBY Syndrome, Journal of the American Planning Association, 58 Fernandes, Leela (2004) The Politics of Forgetting: Class Politics, State Power and the Restructuring of Urban Space in India, Urban Studies, Vol. 41, No. 12, 2415– 2430 Hyderabad City Development Plan, 2002 Krank, Sabrina (2008) Cultural, spatial and socio-economic fragmentation in the Indian megacity Hyderabad, unpublished master thesis Lauber, D. (1990) Community Residence Location Planning Act Compliance Guidebook. Evanston, IL: Planning/Communications. Mander, Harsh (2010), Shelters for the Urban Homeless, Handbook for State and Local Governments Notti, F. and Meyer, N. (2009) Mission report on excluded groups in Nepal, contribution to VEGM, OHCHR 50
Piat, Myra (2000) The NIMBY phenomenon: Community residents' concerns about housing for deinstitutionalization, Health & Social Work; Research Library Speak, S. and Tipple A. G. (2001) The Nature and Extent of Homelessness in Developing Countries, Cardo Report School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Newcastle upon Tyne State of the World’s Cities (2010) UN-‐Habitat Tempalski, Barbara et al (2007) NIMBY localism and national inequitable exclusion alliances: The case of syringe exchange programs in the United States, Geoforum Wynne-‐Edwards, Jeannie (2003), Overcoming Community, Opposition to Homelessness, Sheltering Projects under the National Homelessness Initiative
Date Thursday 24 th March Friday 25th Saturday 26th Sunday 27th Monday 28th Tuesday 29th Wednesday 30th Thursday 31st Friday 1st Saturday 2nd Sunday 3rd Monday 4th Tuesday 5th Wednesday 6th Thursday 7th Friday 8th Saturday 9th Sunday 10th Monday 11th Tuesday 12th Wednesday 13th Thursday 14th Location and participants Meeting w/ LSN Foundation Meeting w/ Aman Vedika Shelter visit at Kachiguda Interview w/ President of Human Rights Forum Shelter visit at Bible House Writing Interview municipal officers Interview at ActionAid India Interview w/ independent researcher Writing, visit to Uppal Women’s Shelter Writing Organizing field visits to communities Preparing questionnaire Coordination meeting with translator Community survey in Musanagar, interview with communy leader Interview with director of NGO CONARE Survey of opinions in wealthy neighborhood Banjara Hills Community survey in L.B. Nagar and Uppal, interview with Uppal corporator Community survey in Musanagar, L.B. Nagar and Bible House Relaxation Writing Writing Writing Interview w/ President of Human Rights Forum Interview w/ independent researcher Presentation of findings at Aman Vedika Writing
Research focus: - How did the community react to a shelter? - What are people’s perceptions about homeless people?
1) Intro questions
Purpose: -‐ Find out if the respondent knows about the proposed shelter -‐ Get a feeling of how the respondent views the proposed shelter 1a) Do you know that there was a plan to establish a destitute shelter in this area? 1b) What do you think about having such a shelters in this area?
2) Community Reactions towards the shelter
Purpose: -‐ Know about the community’s immediate reactions -‐ Know about local activism or mobilization against the shelter – by basti leaders, corporator 4A) What was your immediate reaction? 4b) Did people come together to protest or nothing much happened? 4c) What were the reasons that people protested? 4d) Is their community hall being used for any activities or not really? If the C.H. is not being used: - Would it be fine to use it as a shelter for homeless people according to them? Why/why not? If the shelter is being used: - Would they mind if another building, such as an unused govt. building, would be used as a shelter for the destitute? Why?why not. 4c) How did the corporator or other leaders handle the situation?
Purpose: -‐ Know if there has been any sensitization about the shelter – by GHMC or NGOs -‐ Know how information “travels” in the community, e.g. through key individuals or peers 2a) Did anybody tell you about the shelter, or how did you come to know about it? 2b) Was it a friend or maybe the corporator who told you about the shelter? 53
2c) Why do you think they chose this area for the shelter?
4) Attitude towards the municipality and NGOs Purpose:
2a) What do you know about homeless people? 2b) Have you had any experiences with homeless people – good or bad? 2c) Do you think the homeless people have a right to stay in the city?
Purpose: -‐ To know about people’s perception about homeless shelters. -‐ To know how the person thinks the rest of the community views shelters 3c) How do you think other people in the community viewed the proposal? 3d) How close do you live from the proposed shelter building? 3e) Would it be better to have the shelter in another area? Why/why not?
Purpose: To know how the media is portraying homeless people 7a) Have you read anything about the shelter in the newspaper?
- Name - Age - Gender
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