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Munken, Pirsenteret


Sarah Cooper


Topic: Rurality as a vehicle for Urban Sanitation Transformation (RUST)

Key words: Hyderabad, sanitation, institutions, rurality.


Hyderabad is considered by the UN as one of the world’s future mega-cities with a projected rise in population from nearly 7 million to 14.2 million by 2035. This transition fuelled by rural to urban migration is set to project immense pressure to provide a basic service for sanitation. Sanitation is important as it preserves human health, extends life-span and benefits the economy. Rapid settlement around the city’s perimeter has long extended beyond municipal provision and sanitation is now characterised by an assortment of different solutions. Adopted not only among visible formal populations but also ‘messy’ and ‘hidden’ communities.  Many people living in the urban and peri-urban areas were once rural and still retain strong socio-economic and cultural ties to their origins. These notions of rurality are frequently embedded within their identity and institutions with distinct implications for sanitation governance and policy. It is likely that individuals navigate these geographies differently in their sanitation practices which influence the variety in sanitation solutions. The government’s separate approach to urban and rural sanitation policy may also have instigated these fluid frames of reference.

This study seeks to explore the extent to which these notions of rurality interplay with the institutional context of sanitation, as there is limited understanding to how such people actually navigate between urban and rural systems.  For example in rural areas, social connectivity tends to be stronger with substantial ties between people and the presence of community groups, whereas among urban populations connectivity tends to be weaker with people functioning more individualistically which could impact on sanitation.  Institutions are often defined as the humanly-devised formal and informal “rules of the game” that govern the behaviour of individuals and organisations in particular contexts. Traversing two transects (rural-urban-rural) across the city. The institutional context of sanitation will be explored by investigating the flows and networks of communication which communities’ access for toilet construction, waste disposal and information. Also financial schemes and incentives which enable investment in sanitation. Analysing levels of trust and accountability will disclose synergies between communities and governing organisations and authorities which are inhibiting or enabling the sanitation process. This study will be integral in delivering new theoretical and conceptual understanding about the role of rurality as a driver of urban transformations, as well as evidence-based guidance on driving improvements in sanitation policy within India megacities.

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