I introduced the story of Pedda Jalaripeta to Favelissues readers in March of this year, over the past few months, I have elaborated on Pedda Jalaripeta’s Spatial Resilience and its Social Resilience. Before taking our summer break, I wanted to conclude the Pedda Jalaripeta Story.
The story of Pedda Jalaripeta if anything illustrates that resilience in urban slums is a process rather than a subjective or objective ‘thing’. Study of resilience in urban slums is the understanding of the interplay between different forms of thinking, doing and acting. Here I used a temporal lens to narrate the evolution of the Pedda Jalaripeta over the past sixty years (Resilience of a slum). The spatial lens observed the geographical aspects of the Pedda Jalaripeta that created a unique and livable community (Spatial Resilience). Finally, the social lens analyzed the role of social networks (bonding, bridging and linking) in the ongoing resilience of the slum (Social Resilience in a Slum 1 & Social Resilience in a Slum- Part 2). Through this series of blogs, I have deconstructed and explored resilience in terms of time – space- social dimensions, here I sought to redefine the dialectic understanding of resilience in urban slums. This multi-perspective view of resilience challenges the notion of slum dwellers as passive disaster victims and redirects the focus onto their ingenuity and adaptability to overcome external circumstances or disasters.
The key findings from the Pedda Jalaripeta story are:
Transformative Resilience: Academic and policy debates, on one end, portray slums as signs of underdevelopment – a series of problems evident in their most extreme form in exploding mega cities – a planet of slums (Davis, 2006). At the other end of the spectrum, the slums are considered evidence of creativity, ecological superiority, romanticized entrepreneurialism and adaptability (Neuwirth, 2006). The Pedda Jalaripeta case study shows that a slum, which was at one end of the spectrum (underdeveloped), can transition to the other end of the spectrum. This story illustrates that the physical and social infrastructure of slums can be transformed.
Fighting Gentrification: Three of the top tourist attractions in the city of Visakhapatnam are close to the Pedda Jalaripeta Slum: a 55 acre historical VUDA Park; a 380-acre hilltop park Tenneti Park and Kailashgiri; and the popular Rama Krishna Beach (RK Beach) (figure 21). There have been multiple attempts in the past 14 years to redevelop the Pedda Jalaripeta slum as a tourist destination. The slum residents used a two -pronged approach to defy those attempts. First, the FYWA thwarted large-scale projects through its media outreach and legal filings when necessary. Two, the Pedda Jalaripeta residents prevented piecemeal redevelopment of their community by not selling their property to outsiders (non-fishing families) (Venkat from the focus group 5/22/2014). The social capital that the residents built through mutual investment in the community (temples) and cultural/religious activities (feasts and religious ceremonies) generated a sense of trust among the residents thereby reducing the probability of piecemeal redevelopment of the community by outsiders. Additionally, the high social capital within the community pressured the government officials or politicians to save the low- income fishing village.
Title: Pedda Jalaripeta Beach
Source: Deepika Andavarapu
Resilience of a slum is resilience of its people: The residents of the Pedda Jalaripeta slum survived two natural disasters (Fire and 2004 Tsunami) over the past 40 years. The residents continue to fight tourism -oriented developments that threaten their quality of life. The perseverance of the residents to fight for their community is rooted in the fact that community is desirable and important to a new generation of residents. The PJ provides several spatial benefits (affordable housing, public -private space and access to the beach for fishing) and social advantages (cultural and religious bonds and direct links to external agencies). Overall, the resilience of the PJ is rooted in the fact that it is a livable and vibrant community. A slum can only be as resilient if the people living in it are willing to fight for their community- and only if they have the right resources to fight for their community.
Title: Pedda Jalaripeta Slum
Source: Deepika Andavarpu
Slums, when redeveloped in collaboration with the community, can be resilient in the long term. The PJ is a testament to the fact that the physical and human capital of slums can be improved while preserving the social and ecological assets of the community. Thirty years after the redevelopment, the Pedda Jalaripeta slum continues to be desirable and loved by a younger generation which is willing to invest time, energy and resources to preserve and protect it.