Tenure-Infrastructure-Livelihoods (T-I-L) Nexus in Slum Upgrading

An Emerging Paradigm

  • Peris Mangíra University of Nairobi
Keywords: Informal settlements, Infrastructure, Linkages, Livelihoods, Tenure, Upgrading


The world is progressively moving towards linked up approaches, reinvigorated by the current emphasis on indivisibility in the global goals on sustainable development. However, a lot more remains to be done to fully realise the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social, and environmental. One such area is in the slum or informal settlements upgrading. Although it is currently seen as the best strategy in addressing the growing challenge of slum proliferation, it is constrained by the compartmentalization of interventions. There is limited knowledge on interlinkages between tenure, infrastructure, and livelihoods in upgrading interventions, a gap which this study sought to fill, with a specific focus on the interventions of tenure security, infrastructure, and livelihoods. The study was carried out in Huruma, Munyaka, and Kamukunji settlements located in Eldoret town, and explored the different slum upgrading approaches. Additionally, it examined the interplay of tenure, infrastructure, and livelihoods improvements in the process of upgrading informal settlements. Using a mixed-method approach to data collection and analysis, a dominant sectoral approach to upgrading, a bias towards physical aspects, neglect of livelihoods, and yet uncovered links in the interventions of tenure, infrastructure, and livelihoods are presented. There is a nexus in tenure security, infrastructure, and livelihoods in upgrading that should be harnessed to make upgrading efforts more impactful and sustainable. This paper recommends, for policy and practice of slum or informal settlement upgrading, a reorientation in upgrading strategies. The paper further points to the need for actors to embrace approaches that take into account tenure, infrastructure, and livelihoods in order to provide comprehensive solutions to slum residents. The Tenure-Infrastructure-Livelihoods (T-I-L) nexus approach is advocated for since it provides a more inclusive approach to challenges in informal settlements in an integrated and sustainable manner.