Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Architecture

Degree Name

Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism (DrSU)

Degree Type



Approximately one-quarter of the world’s urban population lives in informal settlements today. Providing basic services and improving life quality in these settlements is a growing challenge that policymakers and researchers must address. The in-situ upgrading approach, which entails providing local services and infrastructure to informal settlements, has been advocated by many researchers over relocation or resettlement. However, the outcomes derived from this approach are still understudied, making it a substantial gap in the research. This research examines the impact of in-situ infrastructure provision and how this approach has adaptively responded to the trend of informal urbanization, especially by exploring the occurrence of “self-help” efforts led by neighborhoods. A mixed-methods methodology using both quantitative and qualitative investigation was used to examine the impact of in-situ infrastructural upgrading on informal settlements. The evidence confirms that in-situ upgrading is a potential policy option for informal settlement planning due to its potential success in settlements transformation. However, regarding the problems that have occurred in the case of the Nima Drain, including its failure on flood risk reduction, in-situ upgrading should be adopted wisely to integrate people, systems, institutions, or programs for the sustainable development of human settlements.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Linda Samuels, Samuel Shearer, Ian Trivers

Available for download on Wednesday, May 22, 2024