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The Role of Social Capital and Further Assets for Collective Action and User Participation to Solve Water Resource Problems in Megacities

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Meyer-Ueding, J.; Rommel, J.; Hanisch, Markus
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/7127
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): slums
social capital
urban affairs
water management
Abstract: "Many large cities around the world face huge challenges of water scarcity. In the South-Indian emerging megacity Hyderabad, uncontrolled population growth and negative effects of climate change add to the existing water crisis. While the upper middle class, farmers around the city, and industries consume a lot of water, slum residents are left behind with inadequate water supplies. As successful cases from slums in other developing countries show, neighborhood organizations can help to improve upon the status quo of water service provision. The degree of collective organization in Hyderabad’s slums is low, however. This paper hypothesizes that differences in assets are responsible for this gap. From a stratified survey of 500 households in Hyderabad we describe differences in endowments across neighborhoods and analyze the way in which assets in general and social capital in particular affect the willingness to address water-related problems collectively. We find that this willingness strongly depends on location – i.e. city zone and type of neighborhood –, having experienced water quality problems, and norm following. In slum neighborhoods also the level of education positively impacts the willingness to organize with one’s neighbors. From these findings we conclude that endowments with social capital and other assets cannot satisfactorily explain the lack of organization. Further research should be directed towards the strong geographical differences in the willingness to organize."

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