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Vegetation in Bangalore’s Slums: Boosting Livelihoods, Well-Being and Social Capital

Author

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  • Divya Gopal

    () (Department of Ecology, Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, Rothenburgstr. 12, 12165 Berlin, Germany
    Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstr. 15, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Harini Nagendra

    () (School of Development, Azim Premji University, PES Institute of Technology Campus, Pixel Park, B Block, Electronics City, Hosur Road, Bangalore 560100, India
    Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Bangalore 560064, India
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

Abstract

Urban greenery provides ecosystem services that play an important role in the challenging context of urban deprivation and poverty. This study assesses the social importance of vegetation through empirical assessment of 44 urban slums in the rapidly developing southern city of Bangalore, India. Vegetation played a major role in supporting nutrition by its role in food consumption, and in promoting health through the planting of species with medicinal use. Trees in slums also formed nodes for social activities including conversing and playing, domestic activities such as cooking and washing dishes, and livelihood activities such as the manufacture of broomsticks and tyre repair. Innovative methods of gardening were widely adopted, with kitchen gardens found planted in plastic bags, paint cans, old kitchen utensils and buckets, indicating the importance given to planting in environments with limited finances. Short and narrow trunked trees with medium-sized canopies and high economic value, such as Pongamia , were preferred. A greater focus on greening in slums is needed, and can provide an invaluable, inexpensive and sustainable approach to improve lives in these congested, deprived environments.

Suggested Citation

  • Divya Gopal & Harini Nagendra, 2014. "Vegetation in Bangalore’s Slums: Boosting Livelihoods, Well-Being and Social Capital," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(5), pages 1-15, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:5:p:2459-2473:d:35551
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin, Katie S & Rogers, Beatrice L & Cook, John T & Joseph, Hugh M, 2004. "Social capital is associated with decreased risk of hunger," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(12), pages 2645-2654, June.
    2. Yusuf, Shahid & Nabeshima, Kaoru & Wei Ha, 2007. "What makes cities healthy ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4107, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:10:p:1884-:d:115708 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:decisn:v:44:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s40622-017-0152-x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    India; livelihood; slum dwellers; urban poverty; social ecological systems; urban ecology; urban vegetation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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