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					   Tackling ‘Wicked Problems’ in
       Informal Settlements:
  A Case Study of Institutional Response to an
Environmental and Health Emergency in Trinidad.


                       David F. Brown
        McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy
                Seminar Series Presentation
                      March 31st 2010
                Outline

       Nature of planning problems.
Overview of informal settlements in Trinidad.
       The Demerara Road Incident.
                  Lessons.
            Garden City Movement




Source: see Howard, “To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform”, 1898
                 Nature of Planning Problems

• Tame Problems                            • Wicked Problems
    – Sewers, paved roads,                      – Crime, housing
      hospitals, clean drinking                 – Social Science
      water…                                         • Ill defined, definition
    – Natural Science                                  depends on solution
         •   Definable                               • Every problem unique, new
         •   Separable                                 combinations always
         •   Possible to demonstrate                   possible
         •   Solution verifiable                     • Solutions not true or false
                                                       but good or bad
                                                     • Questions of equity cloud
                                                       tests of efficiency
                                                     • Any discrepancy can be
                                                       explained in many ways:
                                                       crime – police, poverty,
                                                       culture, guns…

Source: based on Rittel and Webber , “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning”,
Policy Sciences, 1973
Overview of informal settlements in
              Trinidad
                               Macro Economic Performance 1966-94
                                        Trinidad & Tobago

                      25000                                                                                                                180
                                            GDP 1985 Prices                                                                                160
                                            Consumer Prices (1985)




                                                                                                                                                 Consumer Prices (1985)
                      20000                                                                                                                140
$TT Millions (1985)




                                                                                                                                           120
                      15000
                                                                                                                                           100
                                                                                                                                           80
                      10000
                                                                                                                                           60

                      5000                                                                                                                 40
                                                                                                                                           20
                         0                                                                                                                 0
                              1966

                                     1968

                                               1970

                                                      1972

                                                             1974

                                                                    1976

                                                                           1978

                                                                                   1980

                                                                                          1982

                                                                                                 1984

                                                                                                        1986

                                                                                                               1988

                                                                                                                      1990

                                                                                                                             1992

                                                                                                                                    1994
                                                                                  Year
                      Employment / Population (1979=100)




                                                    100
                                                           105




                 75
                       80
                              85
                                      90
                                             95
       19
            73
       19
            74
       19
            75
       19
            76
       19
            77
       19
            78
       19
            79
       19
            80
       19
            81
       19
            82
       19




Year
            83
       19
            84
       19
            85
       19
            86
       19
            87
       19
                                                                 Employment Index




            88
       19
            89
       19
            90
       19
            91
                                          Selected Indicators 1983-92
                                               Trinidad & Tobago
                     3500                                                                            45000

                                                                                                     40000
                     3000




                                                                                                             Number of Crimes Reported
Building Approvals




                                                                                                     35000
                     2500
                                                                                                     30000
                     2000                                                                            25000

                     1500                                                                            20000

                                                                                                     15000
                     1000
                                                                                                     10000
                     500
                                                                                                     5000

                       0                                                                             0
                            1983   1984    1985    1986   1987    1988   1989   1990   1991   1992
                                                              Year

                                           Approved New Building Plans     Crimes Reported
                Estimated Number of Dwellings
                    in Informal Settlements
300000



250000



200000



150000



100000



 50000



     0
         1964    1978   1979   1985   1988   1990   1991   1993   1993
             Agency Responsibility for Planning
                       in Trinidad

Formal < - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - > Informal
             Bureaucratic Practice
                                       Planning
                        Allocative Planning
                                            Innovative Planning
                                                              Radical Planning & Practice
                                                                             Revolutionary Practice
               TCPD       WASA        T&TEC        PEU     SRU Sou Sou Squatting




   Adapted from Friedmann, 1987: Planning in the Public Domain
Community Development Processes in Formal and Informal Settlements

                    Formal                         Informal                            Balanced



State of the        1.homogenous                   1.heterogeneous                     1.topological
Environment         2.normative                    2.variable standards                2.performance standards
                    standards
Development         1.formal, top-down             1.informal, bottom-up               1.mixed
Process             2.centralized                  2.decentralized                     2.community based
                    3.phased                       3.iterative                         3.strategic
                    4.professional                 4.lay initiated                     4.partnership
                    5.regulated                    5.responsive                        5.progressive
                    6.institutional                6.individual, family                6.individual, community
                                                   centered

Citizen             1.verbal                       1.verbal and action                 1.verbal and action
Involvement         2.procedure oriented           2.product oriented                  2.process oriented


Role of State       1.responsible                  1.laissez-faire                     1.enabling
                    2.regulatory

Source: Brown, David and Peter Jacobs, “Adapting Environmental Impact Assessment to Sustain
the Community Development Process” Habitat International, vol 20, no. 3 pp 493-507, 1996
The Demerara Road Incident.
                        The Story
On April 29 1993 a 9 year old child living in a squatter settlement
known as Demerara Road in Trinidad, was diagnosed with lead
poisoning. Over the next month, another 50 children, all from the
same squatter settlement, were admitted to hospital.

The direct cause of the problem was easy to discern. The squatters,
who had appropriated a low-lying, poorly drained site on the
outskirts of Arima, had for some time been encouraging truck
drivers removing toxic waste from a nearby industrial estate to
dump ‘fill’ along their access road. Over the years, hundreds of
tons of toxic waste had been dumped up to 6 feet in depth.

Soil samples indicated that the lead concentration in this waste
ranged from 0.1 to 42%, far above the standard of 0.025% set by
the United States. Beyond the immediate health problems were
concerns that the waste would contaminate the ground water
system and threaten a nearby water treatment plant that produces
some 40% of Trinidad’s drinking water.
              Chronology of Events
• Development of the Demerara Road Settlement: 1983-
• Crisis: April-June 1993
• Emergency Planning, Preliminary Resettlement Plan, July-August,
  1993
• Preparing Submission for Financial Resources and Approvals,
  September-December, 1993
• Awaiting Word, December 1993-March, 1994
• Negotiations for Approvals, March-October, 1994
• Political Revision, November, 1994
• General Confusion, December 1994-May, 1995
                               Government Agencies                  * 1993            1994                  1995
                                                                      A MJ J A S O N D J F MA MJ J A S O N D J F MA M
                               Attorney General & Legal Affairs
                               Attorney General’s Dept
                               Community Development
                               National Commission for Self Help
                               Finance
                               Health
                               Chemistry, Food & Drugs Division
                               County Medical Officers of Health
                               Hospitals
                               Housing & Settlements
                               National Housing Authority
                               Squatter Regularisation Unit
                               Squatter Containment Unit
                               Local Government
                               Tunapuna / Piarco Corporation
                               National Security
                               Fire Service
                               Immigration
                               National Emergency Management
                               Police Service
                               Parliament
                               Cabinet
                               Finance & General Purposes
                               Planning & Development
                               Town and Country Planning Division
                               Environment Division
                               Lands & Surveys Division
                               Public Utilities
                               Trinidad & Tobago Electricity
                               Water & Sewerage Authority
                               Trade & Industry
                               Industrial Development Corporation
                               Works & Transport
                               Drainage Division
                               Mechanical Services Division
                               Traffic Management Branch
                               Other
                               University of the West Indies
                               Chemical Engineering
                               Chemistry
                               PetroTrin
                               Solid Waste Management Company

Source: Brown, David and Timothy Mooleedhar, “The response of public authorities to a local emergency:
the Demerara Road incident”, Human Systems Management 17 (1998) 49-62
             Institutional Issues
• Interrelationship between public health,
  environment and settlement issues.
• Administrative structures and operational
  mentalities
  – Central vs local governing structures (vertical
    relationships)
  – Collaboration between sectorial agencies
    (horizontal relationships)
  – Conflicting perspectives of professionals trained in
    different disciplines.
                                     Issue Perception
  Issue                             Strategies                                    Responsible Agency
  Basic health of residents         Diagnose individual residents                 Ministry of Health
  at risk.                          Treatment
  Residents are unaware of          Distribute pamphlets door to door             Community workers attached to SRU
  risks posed by presence           Community information meeting                 Health Officials
  of lead
  Unlawful occupation of            Forced Eviction                               Ministry of National Security
  land                              Surveillance to ensure site is not re-        SRU Demolition unit
                                    occupied
  Inappropriate dumping             Enact legislation governing the               Environmental Management Agency
  of toxic waste                    disposal of toxic waste. This                 Town and Country Planning Division
                                    legislation should include provision          Solid Waste Management Company
                                    for: fines against company                    Environmental Management
                                    producing waste, fines against truck          Authority
                                    drivers depositing waste, and
                                    remedial costs
  Decontamination of site           Removal of waste to an acceptable             Ministry of Works and Transport
                                    site                                          Solid Waste Management Company
                                    In-situ remedial measures
  Residents are exposed to          Provision of temporary relocation             SRU
  an unhealthy                      facility                                      TCPD
  environment and cannot            Subsidies                                     Min of Health
  afford to move                    Resettlement                                  Min of National Security
                                    Re-mediation of site
Source: Brown, David and Timothy Mooleedhar, “The response of public authorities to a local emergency:
the Demerara Road incident”, Human Systems Management 17 (1998) 49-62
          Name             Mandate                            Methodologies                 Resources                   Strategies                        Values
          National          To     provide all T&T            Analysis   of census data    Engineer                   Build   and operate public       Lower   income households need

             Alternative Perspectives on Settlement
          Housing
          Authority /
          Squatter
          Regularisation
                             residents with housing
                             accommodation through
                               Research
                               Development of housing
                                                               and other indicators of
                                                               housing conditions
                                                               Social surveys
                                                               Engineering analysis
                                                                                             Legal Advisor
                                                                                             Planning consultant
                                                                                             Community workers
                                                                                             Technical support
                                                                                                                         housing
                                                                                                                         Regularise existing squatter
                                                                                                                         settlements -
                                                                                                                         Develop sites and service
                                                                                                                                                           help securing accommodation.
                                                                                                                                                           They are not served by the private
                                                                                                                                                           market.
                                                                                                                                                           Individuals and community



                             Policies
          Unit                    policy                       Planning analysis            staff                       projects.                         groups can act to make a material
                               Direct Action in site           Community Meetings           Microcomputer              Promote incremental              difference in their residential
                                  selection, planning and                                    facilities                  approach to development with      environment if appropriately
                                  development, construction                                  Regular annual             the full participation of the     supported
                                  and operation of housing                                   budget from                 community                         Housing and community
                                  units                                                      government                  Mobilise and assist              development is a process.
                             Special attention to be                                        Revenue from               communities in accessing aid      Standards improve over time.
                             given to lower income groups                                    properties                  from government agencies
          Town and         To ensure that new                 Analysis   of                Planners                   Administer development           Public   is best serviced by
          Country          development meets prescribed        development potential of      Legal Advisors             control to ensure that all new    ensuring development standards
          Planning         standards pertaining to             land                          Analysts                   projects are in a suitable        are met
          Division             location                        Analysis of population       Technical support          location and meet the             A well planned image is
                               environment                     and household trends          staff                       standards set by approving        essential to support private
                               urban form                      Projection of                Micro and                  agencies                          investment and economic growth.
                               servicing                       requirements for all land     minicomputer facilities     Prepare master plans for         Lower income groups will be
                               social acceptability            use activities                including GIS               new development areas.            accommodated by public housing
                             Special attention is given to                                  capability                  Prepare re-development           projects that meet development
                             the need to project T&T as a                                    Regular annual             plans for existing areas          guidelines or filter down
                             well developed country and                                      budget from                                                   A plan is a product. It should
                             an attractive place to live,                                    government                                                    anticipate events that may occur
                             work and play.                                                                                                                in the foreseeable future
                             Consistency in following                                                                                                     Development in contravention
                             all legal requirements                                                                                                        with plans should be denied.
                                                                                                                                                           Planning is a technical exercise.



          Water And        To provide potable water and        Maintenance     and          Engineers                  Identify water sources.          Scientific  analysis and the
          Sewerage         sewerage treatment the              monitoring of overall         Legal Advisors             Explore new technologies         application of established
          Authority        residential, commercial and         system.                       Technical support          Maintain existing system.        engineering principles provides
                           industrial clients.                 Billing.                     staff                       Ensure all technical             the only reliable base for
                           To monitor water quality and       Analysis of service          Microcomputer              standards are followed.           decisions.
                           take corrective action as need      requirement of proposed       facilities with some GIS    Offer different levels of        Access to potable water should
                           be.                                 development projects.         capability                  service to ensure the widest      be as wide as possible. This
                           To ensure that new projects        Projection of overall        Revenue from direct        possible access                   means that different levels of
                           meet prescribed standards           future requirements and       billings.                                                     service should be provided with
                           pertaining to:                      consideration of the          Subsidies from                                               appropriate billing.
                               engineering principles          feasibility of alternative    government.                                                   Incremental development
                               health considerations           sources of water and                                                                        creates uncertainty. It may prove
                               financial feasibility           treatment facilities.                                                                       to be incompatible with the
                               compatibility with existing                                                                                                 existing system at some point in
                                 infrastructure and                                                                                                        the future. It is nonetheless
                                 services.                                                                                                                 needed and is provided by the
                                                                                                                                                           Water Supply Division.
                                                                                                                                                           The only way to ensure proper
                                                                                                                                                           service is to require all projects to
Source: Brown, David and Timothy Mooleedhar, “The response of public authorities to                                                                        meet specific standards before
                                                                                                                                                           approval.
a local emergency: the Demerara Road incident”, Human Systems Management 17 (1998) 49-62
               Public Opinion
• General population
• Demerara Road Residents
  – Concern with health issues, trust in government
    agencies
  – Distrust due to government inaction and lack of
    evidence of health problems
  – Protests and demonstrations
  – Political interventions
  – Open hostility
           Lessons for Trinidad
• Need for Environmental Management Act
• Proposals for new Planning and Development
  of Land Bill
  – National Physical Planning Commission
  – Delegation of planning authority to local level
                 and elsewhere ...
• Goverance:
   – Central vs local authorities
   – Comprehensive vs specialized agencies
   – Strategic collaboration to find the right balance between top-
     down and bottom-up planning and implementation.

• Examples:
   –   New Orleans
   –   Turcot Interchange
   –   Highway 25 Extension
   –   Super hospitals
   –   Climate Change
   –   ...
Questions, Comments, Debate?

				
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