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On the path to progress: improving living conditions in Peru’s slum settlements

Research report

Written by Paula Lucci

Research report

​This study explores the improvements in living conditions in slum settlements located in the outskirts of cities in Peru from 1990 to 2010. This period saw significant progress in access to utilities in these areas. Positive changes were recorded in water piped directly to households, and in access to sanitation (piped sewage systems), the share of slum households with electricity and dwellings made of durable housing materials.

These improvements were the result of action at different levels: political will to increase public provision of water, sanitation and electricity (financed with contributions from multilateral banks and donor resources, but increasingly with governments’ own resources); continuous pressure from community organisations; and investments in housing upgrades by households themselves.

The case study offers a number of useful lessons for other countries, particularly on the fact that improving the living conditions of existing settlements is a necessary but not sufficient condition to deal with increasing urban populations; urban planning and the provision of affordable housing (ownership and rental) needs to take place in tandem with slum upgrading.

Julio Calderón Cockburn, Jesús Quispe Romero, Paula Lucci, Amanda Lenhardt