Date of Graduation

Fall 12-16-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies


International Studies

First Advisor

Seth Wachtel


This research observes how public space planning can improve slum upgrading projects, focusing on two case study slums in Ahmedabad, India.

The inclusion of formal public space planning into slum upgrading schemes can act as a catalyst for dweller-initiated housing improvements. While municipalities that choose to upgrade their slums are primarily concerned with supplying bare necessity infrastructure—such as water, sewage, and paving—most upgrading schemes ignore the reality that slum communities are complex, integral components of the urbanization process. These settlements deserve and necessitate comprehensive design and planning services which will integrate the community into the larger urban fabric.

This thesis suggests that an alternative to choosing either expensive comprehensive design services or incomplete basic-infrastructure provisions is the inclusion of small public space design into slum upgrading projects. Investigating the urban patterns inherent to slum communities, one can see that these communities already possess the basic urban forms needed to create beautiful, livable communities. In addition, professional design services, which are already administered to wealthier urban communities, can make vast improvements through public space planning.