The current literature on urban development, urban management and urban poverty alleviation is rife with paeans to the prospective benefits of partnership between the public, private and community sectors. Properly structured interactions among the three sectors, it is posited, will enhance governance, reduce poverty and protect and renew the urban environment for all. Many recently formed partnerships and collaborations of this kind have already been designated as "best practices", and have been widely promoted for replication in other communities and countries. To date, studies showing both sustained co-operation among the different sectors and broadly positive outcomes, are rare.
This Discussion Paper, Our Home is a Slum, is not one of them. Instead it shows how immensely difficult it is to establish and maintain a configuration of institutional support and social conditions favourable to collaborative relationships that benefit vulnerable groups in a truly globalized city.
At the centre of this study is a conflict between tenants and subtenants in the Janata Squatters Colony, a densely populated slum on publicly owned but officially "vacant" land in the northern suburbs of Mumbai.